The Slave of Love

One of the most successful Soviet films of recent years, with critics and audiences in dozens of countries, The Slave of Love was co-authored by Andron Mikhailkov-Konchalovsky and directed by his brother, Nikita Mikhailkov. At its U.S. Premiere at the Los Angeles FILMEX, Richard Whitehall noted:

“One of the true excitements and chief justifications of a film festival is the opportunity for discovery: of an old film unjustifiably neglected, of a new film with merit but no advance reputation. From its superb pre-title sequence to its hauntingly beautiful fade-out, this new Russian film fits exactly into the second category. Set in the Crimea immediately after the Revolution, when White armies were precariously in control of the south, it is the story of Russia's filmmakers desperately trying to turn out their preposterous melodramas of private emotions while their world is collapsing around them. Having left Moscow, which they dream of with a Chekhovian intensity, they are preparing to emigrate to Paris. Reality, though, keeps intruding into this make-believe world.
“Tender, sympathetic, funny and charming, the film recreates its vanished world in gorgeously Griffithian visual terms. As the shallow, self-centered movie idol who finds that love and loyalty are more complex passions than her black and white renditions on film, Elena Solovey acts with the precision and timing of a first-rate comedienne while managing to look authentically of the period. The Slave of Love is, perhaps, the sleeper of FILMEX 77.”

The Slave of Love went from the “sleeper of FILMEX 77” to a genuine art circuit hit in 1978, prompting responses like: “one of the best Russian movies to reach these shores since the early films of Eisenstein and Pudovkin” (New West), or simply “a new Russian classic” (New Yorker).

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