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100th Anniversary of Russian Cinema Program

Russian State Film and Photo Archive (RSFPA) presents three programs including fiction and non-fiction films and newsreel of 1909-1914.

Most of the program is made up of documentaries but there are two fiction films: “Christmas In A Trench” by Yakov Protazanov, 1914, the only film in RSFPA belonging to Russian Cinema Golden Series, and “300th Anniversary Of Romanov House” produced by A.O. Drankov’s and A.G. Taldikin’s company in 1913 presenting the most important events of Russian and Romanov dynasty history from 1612 through 1912. This is fiction but the film is ended with documentary shots of Nicolas II coronation (1896), unveiling of Alexander III monument in St. Petersburg (1909) and 100th anniversary of Battle of Borodino (1912).

Documentary newsreel demonstrates diversity of social, cultural and political life of Russian cinema during its first years. Audience may visit writer Leonid Andreev’s dacha (1909), to witness unveiling ceremony of memorials devoted to heroes of Patriotic War of 1812 in Vyazma and to Peter I in Tula and opening of the new bridge over the Volga in Rzhev (1911). This film is peculiar for unique panorama of Rzhev which was almost totally ruined during the Great World War.

The film “Riga Celebrations” (1910) and “Nicolas II Visiting F.E. Falz-Fein’s Estate Askania-Nova” (1914) not only captured top leaders of the Russian Empire but also landscape and atmosphere of Riga, its citizens and founder of the first Russian reserve “Askania Nova”, one of the most known nowadays.

However not only state figures were characters of the films. In 1910 hieromonch Iliodor who used to be Grigori Rasputin’s friend was filmed in Tsaritsino.

Russian filmmakers were also inspired by humanism ideas. Such films as “Bringing-up Blind Children” (1909) and “Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich Orphanage Ship In Sevastopol (Little Seamen’s Life)” (1911) may be considered as a prove of that.

Popular science films were also shot in Russian of those times, for example, such films as “Zoological Garden In St. Petersburg” (1913) and “American Type Freight Cars Assembly” (before 1917).

The First World War is presented in many newsreels but this war was unsuccessful for Russia so the most interesting film in this context is “Galicia” (1914) that depicts success of Russian army. However this film does not show battles but peaceful life in occupied by Russian troops city of Lvov and adjacent regions.

Shorts of India emperor George V coronation (1911) stand apart in the programs of the Archive. These shorts are unique because these are the only shorts remained of the first color feature documentary «The Durbar At Delhi” (7649.8 m.). The film was produced by «Natural Colour Kinematograph Co.» in 1911-1912 on two-color system «Kinemacolor®». The color reconstruction of the film was made by N.A. Mayorov.

Program 1

Leonid Andreev. Production of A Drankov company, filmed by A. Drankov, 1909, 5 min.
Opening of The Beidge Over the Volga in the Center of Rzhev”, 1911, 10 min.
Hieromonch Iliodor. Filmed by Parfianovich, 1910, 5 мин.
Bringing-up Blind Children. Produced by A.A. Khanzhonkov company, 1909, 4,5 min.
Zoological Garden In St. Petersburg. Produced by Gomon company, filmed by A.F. Winkler, 1913, 4 min.
India Emperor  George V Coronation. «Kinemacolor», 1911, 15 min. Color Reconstruction.

Program 2

American Type Freight Cars Assembly. By 1917, 16 min.
Galicia. Produced by Skobelevsk Committee, 1914, 35 min.
Christmas In A Trench. Produced by Russian Golden Series,director Yakov Protazanov, 8 min.

Program 3

Riga Celebrations. Produced by A. Drankov, 1910, 6 min.
“Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich Orphanage Ship In Sevastopol (Little Seamen’s Life)”. Filmed by A.A. Rillo, 1911, 8 min.
Nicolas II Visiting F.E. Falz-Fein’s Estate Askania-Nova.1914, 10 min.
300th Anniversary Of Reigning Romanov House (fiction). Produced by A.A. Drankov and A.G. Taldikin company, filmed by N.F. Kozlovskiy. 1914, 36 min.