Russia Cinema At the Beginning of Glorious Days (1980)

At the Beginning of Glorious Days (1980)

Based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel Peter the First

Gorky Film Studios/Deutsche Film (DEFA)

Director: Sergei Gerasimov

Screenplay: Sergei Gerasimov, Yury Kavtaradze

Cinematography: Sergei Filippov, Horst Hardt

Composer: Vladimir Martynov

Cast: Dmitry Zolotukhin (Peter the Great), Tamara Makarova, Natalia Bondarchuk, Nikolai Yeremenko Jr., Mikhail Nozhkin, Peter Reusse, Eduard Bocharov, Lyubov Polekhina, Lyubov Germanova, Roman Filippov, Yury Moroz, Vladimir Kashpur, Alexander Belyavsky, Nikolai Grinko, Boris Khmelnitsky, Marina Levtova, Ekaterina Vasilyeva, Ivan Lapikov

Second film in a two-part series beginning with The Youth of Peter the Great

Box-office (1981, 14th place): 23.5 million viewers

Awards: All-Union Film Festival 81 (Vilnius)

This is the second film in a two-part series by Sergei Gerasimov, beginning with The Youth of Peter the Great. Gerasimov’s diology was not the first time that the Russian cinema had addressed the figure and reign of Peter the Great. For several decades, Vladimir Petrov’s Peter the First, based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel of the same name, had been a permanent fixture on Soviet screens. Sergei Gerasimov was faced with a difficult task. He had to show the personality of the emperor and his entourage, without falling into tautology. Authentically recreating the typical features of the period, he also had to add new tones to the artistic resolution, in combination with distinctive individual characteristics. Such a task required true mastery.

Gerasimov creates more than just a film about a famous historical personality. He paints a magnificent panorama of Russian life at a time of radical change. The breadth of the director’s approach is reflected in the wide-scale production. Several storylines – the tsar and his confidantes, Sophie and the boyars, Peter and the old Russia, folk life and the church – are explored fully and in great detail. The brilliant cast, the sets and costumes, the setting, the general plastic resolution and, finally, the temperamental performance of Dmitry Zolotukhin in the lead role all help to convey the director’s original concept.

Random articles