The Russians are retreating before the German advance, and the dead are piled like cordwood. Desperate men take their boots and flee. Fyodor Nikitin is left for dead, but he has survived, and for ten years he remains where he is, the memoryless village idiot. One day his memory returns and he rides the rods into what he remembers as Petrograd. However, the Revolution has triumphed, and he gradually comes to embrace the new order of things. However, he is still looking for his wife, Lyudmila Semyonova. Thinking him long dead, she has a new husband, Valeri Solovtsov. His job is to lecture the workers on socialism, on the dignity of the individual, and when the two men first meet each other in the factory, he is hectoring the workers, busy eating lunch, on how their wives are deserving of respect. He does not treat Miss Semyonova with respect.
Fridrikh Ermler's late silent picture is full of Academician touches, with bouts of fast montages, and Lasky lighting. Nikitin gives a wild-eyed performance that befits his Rip Van Winkle/Enoch Arden character. Besides the story, it makes a point about cultural lag; we may have a worker's paradise in the factory, but until we are all comrades in the home, the work is not yet done.
Loading video, please wait...
Fridrikh Ermler's last silent feature, Fragment of an Empire, tells the story of a Russian non-commissioned officer, Ivan Filimonov (Fyodor Nikitin), who was shell-shocked, thought to be dead in the First World War and in loss of memory. Filimonov regains his memory in 1928, ten years after the Russian Revolution. Determined to find his wife and get his job back, he goes home to Saint Petersburg only to find out that his wife has remarried and his former employer has been replaced by a factory committee. The Saint Petersburg that he used to know also does not exist anymore. Renamed Leningrad and deprived of its status as capital, the city with its monumental buildings and statues of Lenin is foreign to Filimonov as is everything else in this new world created by the 1917 Revolution. As time goes by, however, he learns to appreciate the new ways. Although he is not reunited with his wife, he regains full control of his life. At the end of the film, Filimonov breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly as he declares, in true Soviet propaganda fashion: "There is still much work to be done!"
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
May 28, 2022 at 05:41 AM