Directed by Herbert Rappaport and based on Dmitri Shostakovich’s operetta Cheryomushki, is a satirical take on the now infamous housing projects built under Nikita Krushchev. Aesthetically, the film is shot in a bright colour scale, exemplifying the hopes of those who are to be rehomed in the Cheryomushki district yet the musical numbers accentuate the film’s inherent satire. Shostakovich pens a satirical work, from his position as a Soviet favourite, furthers the debate around his status as either a genuine ideologue or a secret dissident.
Musicals, Technicolour and Prefabricated Housing
Herbert Rappaport (1908–1983), known in the Soviet Union as Gerbert Moritsevich Rappaport, was an Austrian-Soviet screenwriter and film director. Rappaport was born in 1908 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. From 1927 to 1929 he studied law at University of Vienna. Rappaport worked as screenwriter, music editor, and assistant director in Austria, Germany, and the United States from 1928 onward. During the early 1930s he worked as an assistant to Georg Wilhelm Pabst. In 1936 he was officially invited to the Soviet Union to internationalize the Soviet Cinema which he accepted and spent the following 40 years working as a filmmaker there. Among Rappaport’s best known films is an adaptation of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cheryomushki (“Cherry Town”) (1963).