Wings of a Serf
(Die Flugel des Sklaven), (Iwan der Schreckliche)
BAMPFA collection print
Leonoid Leonidov, Ivan Klyukvin, Safiyat Askarova, Vladimir Korsh,
A highlight of BAMPFA’s recent program of excerpts, Out of the Vault: Sergei Eisenstein and His Contemporaries, Wings of a Serf will be shown in its entirety as an added screening in our spring In Focus series. Directed by the Belarusian Yuri Tarich, this extraordinary Soviet silent feature set in the sixteenth century was influential in the direction of Eisenstein’s two-part Ivan the Terrible (1944–46). As film historian Jay Leyda has written, “Wings of a Serf (shown abroad as Ivan the Terrible) is a drama of the time of Ivan IV: the unhappy fate of a serf who is so unwisely clever as to invent an apparatus for flying through the air. Yet when this story leaves the memory, what stays is the extraordinary portrait of Ivan, as played by Leonid Leonidov.” The lasting quality of the film may lie in the composition of the cast and crew, including Viktor Shklovsky as cowriter, Tarich’s assistant director Ivan Pryiev, and film editor Esfir Shub.