Aleksandr Nevskiy (1938) + ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester / Frank Strobel

Aleksandr Nevskiy
Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein, Dmitriy Vasilev
Writer: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Cast: Nikolay Cherkasov, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Andrei Abrikosov, Dmitriy Orlov, Vasili Novikov, Nikolai Arsky, Varvara Massalitinova, Valentina Ivashova, Aleksandra Danilova, Vladimir Yershov, Sergei Blinnikov, Ivan Lagutin, Lev Fenin, Naum Rogozhin
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Sergey Prokofiev, played be the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester, sung by the Wiener Singakademie and Marina Prudenskaya, conducted by Frank Strobel
Seen on: 21.11.2019

In 13th century Russia, foreign forces have overrun the country. Aleksandr Nevskiy (Nikolay Cherkasov) thought that he had left war behind and could spend the rest of his life as a fisherman. But his reputation makes him the ideal man for the remaining Russian forces to rally behind – and he finally agrees to lead them all to victory against the invadors.

Eisenstein definitely knows how to make propaganda and Aleksandr Nevskiy is no exception there. Accompanied by the entire ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester and the Wiener Singakademie made watching it extra-special though, because size of the orchestra and choir matched the size of the film.

The film poster showing a drawing of a knight - Aleksandr Nevskiy - on a rearing horse.
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Raduga [The Rainbow] (1944)

Director: Mark Donskoy
Writer: Wanda Wasilewska
Based on: her own novel
Cast: Natalya Uzhviy, Nina Alisova, Elena Tyapkina, Valentina Ivashova, Anton Dunaysky, Anna Lisyanskaya, Hans Klering, Nikolai Bratersky, Vladimir Chobur
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 27.10.2019

In the middle of nowhere in the Ukraine, there’s a village that is occupied by the Nazis who have instated an iron rule on the mostly female, old or very young population. The men, and some women, too, are off fighting – either in the war as soldiers, or as partisans in the area. Olena (Natalya Uzhviy) was one of the partisans, but she decided to return to the village to have her baby. But once there, the Nazis lean hard on her to reveal the whereabouts of the other partisans.

Raduga is a propaganda film meant to inspire resistance which is an interesting double goal for the film to handle. But Raduga definitely knows what it’s doing.

The film poster showing a woman wrapped in a scarf in front of a barbed wire fence.
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