From the day of its premiere, Carnival Night achieved enormous popularity. The film introduced actress Ludmila Gurchenko to the world as well as film director Eldar Ryazanov, who became a kind of Soviet Billy Wilder, going on to helm other beloved Russian comedies like Watch out for the Car! (1966), Irony of Fate (1975), and Office Romance (1977). Now, over 50 years later, Carnival Night is screened every New Year.
The film follows a young employee, Elena Krilova, preparing the script of a New Year’s Eve celebration at her local House of Culture. Unfortunately, the new Head of Culture, Comrade Ogurzov, (Comrade Pickle in translation), has his own ideas of what will be memorable, joyful and fun. Ryazanov himself says “For me the main character is bureaucrat Ogurzov. He alone gave us the opportunity to make the film satirical and topical. I described the role to the great comic actor Igor Vladimirovich Ilyinsky like this, ‘Pickle is not like today’s bureaucrats, who have grown up in soft armchairs. He has initiative, openness, simplicity… He is democratic without croneyism or overfamiliarity. In him, there are all the qualities of a hero. Except for one thing – Pickle – is a complete idiot’.”
Prior to the main title, we are screening the British Premier of our first restoration of Sergei Parajanov’s Hakob Hovnatanyan.
You can read about the restoration of Hakob Hovnatanyan here.
Eldar Alexandrovich Ryazanov
Eldar Aleksandrovich Ryazanov (1927-2015) achieved fame with signature satirical comedies of Soviet life. He started as a documentary filmmaker and later worked at Mosfilm Studios under the direction of Ivan Pyrev, the noted musical director, who produced Ryazanov’s first feature film ‘Karnavalnaya Noch’ (Carnival Night, 1956). His most loved films include: Watch out for the Car! (1966), Irony of Fate (1975), and Office Romance (1977).