Cain and Artem
Peter Bagrov is a curator of the moving image department at the George Eastman Museum and an expert on Russian and Soviet film history.
Emil Gall, Nikolai Simonov, Elena Egorova, Georgy Uvarov,
Pavel Petrov-Bytov was an enfant terrible of the highbrow Leningrad Sovkino film factory. He was notorious for his article “We Have No Soviet Filmmaking,” in which he criticized all the achievements of the Soviet avant-garde. In spite of his beliefs and his scandalous struggle with “bourgeois” and “formalist” filmmaking, Petrov-Bytov directed an aesthetically refined work, shot entirely on set with masterful chiaroscuro lighting: a perfect example of “Soviet expressionism.” Based on a Maxim Gorky story, the plot of Cain and Artem provides a wake-up call to the Russian people to overcome alcoholism and religious factionalism, as it spotlights the (many) drunken denizens of a typical village and their disregard for the Jewish shoemaker Cain. BAMPFA holds a unique print of the original US release version—only a later post-synchronized version exists in Russia, and the original silent version is considered lost.