Springtime on Zarechnaia Street
(Vesna na Zarechnoi Ulitse
), which drew in over 30 million viewers in the Soviet Union upon release. Made during the relatively lightly censored period known as the Khrushchev Thaw, the movie possessed a contemporary-feeling freedom in its telling of a romance between a night-school teacher and a steelworker with an inclination for poetry. The rest of Khutsiev's movies weren't so lucky: His Ilych's Gate
, 1962), which meditates on the stories of Second World War–slain fathers and the disillusioned sons left in their wake, was attacked by Khrushchev for depicting "discord in the friendly Soviet family." These acts of disapproval from on high took their toll: Khutsiev hasn't completed a feature since 1992, even though that movie, Infinitas
), has earned comparisons to Tarkovsky and, at better than two hundred minutes, is considered by many to be the director's grandest statement. Consider it all the more vital, then, to drop in on this complete MoMA retro; Khutsiev himself, who's been working for over a decade on a movie about visitations between Tolstoy and Chekhov, appears for an in-person talk on October 8.
"Marlen Khutsiev" runs through October 16 at MoMA. Click here for the screening schedule.
The 91-year-old director Marlen Khutsiev, born in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 1925 (when the city was called Tiflis), made a splash in 1956 with his movie