Ivan the Terrible, Part I
Peter Bagrov is a film historian, curator, and archivist specializing in early Russian and Soviet cinema. He currently serves as vice president of the International Federation of Film Archives and until recently was the senior curator at Gosfilmofond of Russia. Note: Bagrov will be present at the February 11 screening only.
Nikolai Cherkasov, Lyudmila Tselikovskaya, Serafina Birman, Mikhail Nazvanov,
Ivan the Terrible, Part I also screens on April 18 (with a lecture by Anne Nesbet) as part of the series In Focus: Eisenstein and His Contemporaries.
Like Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible is a collaboration with “that magician Sergei Prokofiev,” as Eisenstein called him; it has a strange magic bordering on sorcery. Filmed under difficult wartime conditions, it is set in sixteenth-century Moscow, where the newly crowned Czar Ivan attempts to thwart both the boyars (the feudal nobility) and the hold of the church to create a unified Russia. Set mostly in cave-like cathedral interiors with frescoed walls, the film itself is like a fresco come to life in painterly long shots and tortured close-ups. Part I follows Ivan from his coronation to his voluntary exile to Alexandrov to await his people’s summons.