8.0/10
551
5 user 13 critic

The Last Bolshevik (1993)

Le tombeau d'Alexandre (original title)
This documentary tells the story of film director Aleksandr Medvedkin, throughout his life a sincere believer in communism, whose films were repeatedly banned in the Soviet Union. Modern ... See full summary »

Director:

Chris Marker

Writer:

Chris Marker
Reviews

Watch Now

From $5.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Level Five (1997)
Documentary | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The French computer programmer Laura inherits the task of making a computer game of the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. She searches the internet for information on the battle, and ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Catherine Belkhodja, Kenji Tokitsu, Nagisa Ôshima
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

French essay film focusing on global political turmoil in the 1960s and '70s, particularly the rise of the New Left in France and the development of socialist movements in Latin America.

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Laurence Cuvillier, Davos Hanich, François Maspero
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary of black art.

Directors: Ghislain Cloquet, Chris Marker, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Jean Négroni, François Mitterrand, Pope Pius XII
A.K. (1985)
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A documentary that shows the production of Ran and discusses the film techniques of Kurosawa himself.

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Shigehiko Hasumi, Chris Marker, Akira Kurosawa
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

While filming the Olympics, a filmmaker encounters a Japanese girl. Manchurian born and French educated, she's an intriguing anomaly. He films her around Tokyo, as she speaks of Japan, being Japanese and her unique perspective on life.

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Chris Marker, Kumiko Muraoka
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Ali, Père Gauthier, Monsieur Klein
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Paris 2002. Yellow cats appears on the walls. Chris Marker is looking for these mysterious cats and captures with his camera the political and international events of these last two years (war in Iraq...).

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Bertrand Cantat, Dieudonné, Léon Schwartzenberg
Le joli mai (1963)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme's LE JOLI MAI (The Lovely Month of May) is a portrait of Paris and Parisians during May 1962;the first springtime of peace after the ceasefire with Algeria ... See full summary »

Directors: Chris Marker, Pierre Lhomme
Stars: Chris Marker, Yves Montand, Simone Signoret
Sans Soleil (1983)
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A woman narrates the contemplative writings of a seasoned world traveler, focusing on contemporary Japan.

Director: Chris Marker
Stars: Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle, Riyoko Ikeda
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Through photos made by the French photographer Denise Bellon, a personnal history of France.

Directors: Yannick Bellon, Chris Marker
Stars: Pierre Arditi
From the East (1993)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A look at life in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Director: Chantal Akerman
Stars: Natalia Chakhovskaia
Casque bleu (1995)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Director: Chris Marker
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Léonor Graser Léonor Graser ... Dinosaur girl
Nikolai Izvolov Nikolai Izvolov ... Guest
Kira Paramonova Kira Paramonova ... Guest
Viktor Dyomin Viktor Dyomin ... Guest (as Viktor Diomen)
Yuli Raizman Yuli Raizman ... Guest
Marina Kalasieva Marina Kalasieva ... Guest
Aleksandr Medvedkin Aleksandr Medvedkin ... Himself (archive footage)
Lev Rochal Lev Rochal ... Guest
Vladimir Dmitriev Vladimir Dmitriev ... Guest (as Vladimir Dimitriev)
Antonina Pirojkova Antonina Pirojkova ... Guest
Albert Schulte Albert Schulte ... Interviewee
Rhona Campbell Rhona Campbell ... Guest
Marina Goldovskaya Marina Goldovskaya ... Guest
Yakov Tolchan Yakov Tolchan ... Guest
Sofia Prituliak Sofia Prituliak ... Guest
Edit

Storyline

This documentary tells the story of film director Aleksandr Medvedkin, throughout his life a sincere believer in communism, whose films were repeatedly banned in the Soviet Union. Modern Russian film students express their excitement at seeing his film HAPPINESS for the first time, and his contemporaries shed light on his life and work. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

France | Finland

Language:

French | Russian | English | German

Release Date:

21 October 1994 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Elegia a Alexandre See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Edited from Happiness (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto de violon
Music by Alfred Shnitke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A terrifying and brilliantly cinematic denunciation of cinema.
26 April 2000 | by alice liddellSee all my reviews

As a genre, the documentary is closely related to the detective story. Often the documentary seeks to find a truth in modern life, to show life as it really is, to expose reality from under official appearance. Sometimes it is even more specific - why did General Motors close down in Flint, Michigan and what effects did it have on the inhabitants in ROGER AND ME; what has happened to the memory of Jews in the Europe where they were virtually wiped out in A SMALL TOWN IN POLAND.

Marker's THE LAST BOLSHEVIK is a mystery. Alexandre Medvedkin was a genius Soviet filmmaker from the 1920s, whose films were at least the equal of Eisenstein or Pudovkin. Unlike these, they combined avant-garde rigour with surrealism, folklore and humour. Although Medvedkin was a devout Communist (he had fought in the Civil War), and saw his work providing a valuable function in the new State, their very inventiveness was seen as ambiguous and possibly subversive. His films were always put on the shelf, his name wiped out of official histories, never mentioned in film schools - the few students who were lucky enough to witness his films clandestinely were shocked at and thrilled by the lack of uniformity in his work.

The mystery is, how could such a film-maker, who persisted in making difficult, awkward films, whose very sincere communism was a stumbling-block for opportunist Stalinism, whose revolutionary train-studios (where he would travel throughout Russia, film the people and process the material straight away) actually unwittingly exposed the failings of the Revolution - how did such a man survive the great Stalinist purges of the 1930s, indeed live until the grand old age of 89, especially when men like the writer Isaac Babel and the theatre director Meyerhold (whose only 'crime' was to find his artisitic methods out of tune with Stalinist decrees) were imprisoned in concentration camps and murdered?

Marker the detective interviews witnesses (Medvedkin's daugther, former colleagues, Babel's wife), analysts (the young students who so fell in love with his work they determined to resurrect it, film critics), as well as investigating the archives. His researches are surprising and depressing.

Because this is not really just a film about Medvedkin. Born in 1900, his story is used to illustrate the Russian century, the failure of Communism, the betrayal of cinema. It is also a personal quest for Marker, whose first viewing Medvedkin's HAPPINESS was life-changing, who became a friend of the director, and introduced his work to the West, whose leftist idealism in the 1960s was soon disillusioned.

The quiet catalogue of terror and murder under Stalin is repulsive, abetted by a cinema, which, though technically innovative and exciting, was founded on lies. Films tacitly or literally glorified Stalin. Eisenstein's OCTOBER, celebrating the 1917 Revolution, had to be reedited when Trotsky, so crucial in that event, became a Stalinist persona non grata. We see films with black strips indicating that someone just fallen out of favour has been wiped out. Cinema, said Lenin, would be the Bolsheviks' greatest weopon, and its systematic collusion with tyranny is heartbreaking. Gorky, who introduced cinema (invented by Frenchmen) to Russia (and therefore an inverse Marker), proclaimed it a play of shadows, and in Russia it never became more than this, became even less, despite Vertov's desire for 'cinema truth'. Tragically, Medvedkin's truth-telling was fatal - his filming of what he thought was Kulak (the peasant landowning class) indolence, led to their slaughter, by Stalin. Marker never directly accuses him of anything - this is a film about a society and an artform where truth has been rigorously wiped out; to express this, Marker must distort his own 'real' images, which have lost their value as truth - but the intimations are horrifying and shaming.

But never finger-wagging. Marker is too melancholy, too much, in spite himself, the romantic. This is a strangely beautiful film, as all Marker documentaries are, a kind of riposte to totalitarian anti-humanism, and full of wonderful, compromised Russian cinema (and lots of Marker cats too!). Framed as letters to the deceased Medvedkin, they initiate a dialogue in which no statement can be taken for granted, where plurality and contradiction is the norm, the very opposite of tyrannical art. Some people have compared this latter to Hollywood conformity - the latter is undoubtedly culturally damaging, but it's rather insulting to suggest that the generic and unimaginative kills.


31 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 5 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed