food in the arts


Directed by Sergei Eisenstein/ Music by Sergei Prokofiev/ 1938
Alexander Nevsky poster Alexander Nevsky

Russia contributed to the panoply of groaning tables, laden with rich food and drink, in the series of late 1930s kolkhoz musicals by Ivan Pyriev - a Stalinist version of the 'Potemkin villages' originally created to disguise Russia's rural misery from Catherine the Great. Eisenstein would contribute an historical dimension to this bucolic image in his Alexander Nevsky, with its bustling Novgorod market scenes.

Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 film masterpiece, with music by Sergei Prokofiev, is a unique phenomenon in film and music history. The authentically restored version of Prokofiev's brilliant orchestral and vocal score, combined with new prints of the film from the original nitrate negative in the Moscow Film Archives, rejuvenated dialogue and sound effects, a system for synchronizing the orchestra and screen. Newly translated subtitles reveal this work to be one of filmmaker's towering achievements and an extraordinary concert experience.

This classic Sergei Eisenstein tale of 13th century Russia is an unique film of unequalled excellence. It is considered to be one of the greatest achievements of Soviet and world cinema artistry. The story centres around the tumultuous time when the Russians were invaded by Teutonic knights on one front and Tartars on the other. The morale of the Russian people was at its lowest ebb until a brave and extremely wise noblemen, Prince Nevsky is summoned to lead his people in their fierce struggle against the oppressors.

Eisenstein had the entire Russian army at his disposal, and the battle scenes, complete with thousands of men, are spectacular. His meticulous attention to detail is unbelievably exact. Although less experimental stylistically than his previous works, the film has what Eisenstein himself called a "symphonic structure" because of his great collaboration with composer Sergei Prokofiev. The result is a patriotic pageantry of stirring images and dramatic music, particularly in the Battle of the Ice sequence, which even today remains unsurpassed in the history of cinema.


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 Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky/Lieutenant Kijé - CD -

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