The Seventh Companion

Sedmoy sputnik

dir. Alexei Guerman, Grigori Aranov

The Seventh Companion

Sedmoy sputnik

dir. Alexei Guerman, Grigori Aranov

The Seventh Companion

Sedmoy sputnik

dir. Alexei Guerman, Grigori Aranov

The Seventh Companion

Sedmoy sputnik

dir. Alexei Guerman, Grigori Aranov

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Alexei Guerman's directorial debut focuses on a former general in the tsarist army who finds himself adrift in the new world of the Soviet Union.
Guerman apparently disavowed this, his first film, because of his co-director Grigori Aranov's more classical approach (and his kowtowing to Soviet authority); too bad, because it's something of a knockout. A brilliant, gripping portrait of the era of "Red Terror" during the civil war that followed the Bolshevik revolution, The Seventh Companion offers a superlative character study in General Adamov (Andrei Popov), a law professor in the tsarist army, who is incarcerated by the Bolshevik secret police along with many other members of the bourgeoisie. Finally released into the new world of the Soviet Union, the resigned officer finds that he has lost everything from his old life except a mantel clock that he carries through the night from place to place, until he ends up, like Rossellini's inmate seeking readmission to prison in Dovè la liberta?, back where he started. This newly struck print displays the film's stunning use of mobile, widescreen camerawork to full advantage, the roving camera craning above black-clad soldiers swarming over a snowy field, ploughing through a grove of willows, or floating over a rutted plain in the film's devastating finale.