Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Glasnost Film Festival, No. 3

  • The Tailor Early on Sunday
  • Rating: ***
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $59.95 Series (public): $575.00
  • Date: Copyright 1988. Released 1990.
  • Descriptors: Documentaries. Soviet Union - Social conditions.
  • Production Information: Live action, Film transfer. Produced by Vladislav Mirzoyan (Tailor), Murat Mamedov (Early). Color. Russian. Subtitled. 50, 16 min.
  • Production Company: West Siberian Newsreel Studio Ukranian News & Documentary Studios
  • Available from: The Video Project 5332 College Ave., Ste. 101 Oakland, CA 94618 (510) 655-9050, (800) 4-PLANET
  • Cataloging: ||Soviet Union - Social conditions||Soviet Union - Economic conditions
  • Print Entry #: 1:1934
  • Reviewer: Corinne H. Smith

    The 12 tapes in the Glasnost Film Festival series contain 22 documentary programs directed by Soviet filmmakers. The two selections reviewed here have been released on a single videotape and can be conveniently compared and contrasted in terms of style and content. Both are honest and thought-provoking pieces illustrating Soviet life but could easily be depressing for the American viewer unaccustomed to films of this type. In spite of the advent of glasnost, this series is not something that every collection will want or need.

    The Tailor relates the experiences and feelings of a middle-aged man and woman who find themselves living frustrating and relatively unfulfilling lives. Early on Sunday follows a group of old peasant women as they cut trees into firewood. The two films are very different visually and were produced in different areas of the USSR, but there are several similar themes, consistent threads, that run through both films. The subjects lament about having insufficient money to survive and state that their health has suffered because of their working and living conditions. All of their stories demonstrate that they have become victims of the Communist system. For the women in Early on Sunday, difficulties stem from the poor Soviet pension program. For the main character in The Tailor, his grave problem comes in the form of a KGB investigation of an incident that has been misunderstood and misrepresented. In the meantime, his woman (his wife? ex-wife?) apparently has lost her capacity for love. In each documentary, perestroika is mentioned; although the people know about that concept, they see little evidence that it exists. The American viewer is led to hope that the situation has changed in the years since this filming took place, and that these individuals are better off now than they were then.

    Technically, both productions are well done. While Early on

    Sunday is a straightforward cinÇma veritÇ account of the women's activities and conversations in the woods, The Tailor is impressionistic in nature. It manipulates personal interviews with stark visuals and music (some of it with Russian lyrics, some sung in English). The English subtitles provided for both documentaries are fairly easy to read, but at times it's quite obvious that not every spoken word was translated. Audiences who are fluent in Russian may get more out of the presentations than non-Russian speakers.

    This collection should appeal to individuals and libraries specializing in film study or Soviet topics. Others may satisfy their curiosity by choosing just one or two tapes from the set.

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