Kino Klassika Foundation hosted a gala screening of Vsevolod Pudovkin’s masterpiece, The End of St Petersburg (1927) at the Electric Cinema in partnership with Fabergé. The screening launches a season of films and events titled ‘A WORLD TO WIN: A Century of Revolution on Screen’ to mark the Russian Revolution centenary next year. The screening was introduced by famed Petersburg historian Professor Catriona Kelly.
About the Fabergé Gala
Now in its second year, the Faberge Annual gala brings together guests from the Anglo-Russian business and arts communities to enjoy iconic Russian cinema. In the convivial atmosphere of London’s most elegant picturehouse, film directors and actors, leading lights in both business and the arts, enjoy the best of Russian silent cinema as we raised support to mark the centenary of the Revolution next year.
End of St Petersburg: A Rarely Screened Masterpiece
The End of St Petersburg was planned to grace the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. The director’s plans were ambitious: he wanted it to cover the two centuries of the city’s history. In the end, the film is a boots level narrative about a naïve youth who is forced to seek work in the city.
The film was officially commissioned to mark the 10th Anniversary of the October Revolution and alongside Sergei Eisenstein’s film masterpiece, October. Both elaborate productions were shot simultaneously in the city with both climaxing in the storming of the Winter Palace. At one point, Pudovkin’s film crew were bombing the Winter Palace (or Hermitage as we now know it) from the Aurora battleship while Eisenstein’s rival film crew were bombarding it from the opposite side at the Fortress of St Peter and Paul!
As Professor Catriona Kelly who introduced the screening observes, “The End of St Petersburg is Pudovkin’s finest film, a magnificent tribute to a city as well as an unusually rich and moving portrayal of revolution from below. Eisenstein’s October exults in the destruction of pre-revolutionary culture. Pudovkin, on the other hand, shows how working-class Russians rose from their cellars to take charge of the splendid expanses from which they had previously been banned”.
Pudovkin is a unique figure whose cine-eye had a huge influence on world cinema in the postwar era, as well as on later Soviet film.
Vsevolod Illarionovich Pudovkin Все́волод Илларио́нович Пудо́вкин (16 February 1893 – 30 June 1953) developed influential theories of montage and sound. Pudovkin is widely recognised to have written and directed a trilogy of early silent film masterpieces: Mother, End of St Petersburg and Storm over Asia after his first amusing short film Chess Fever.
Bringing together the British and Russian Communities
Vsevolod Pudovkins’ rarely screened silent film masterpiece was great British film director Stanley Kubrick’s favorite film…
The invited guests mixed the British and Russian business and artistic communities. Attending included film directors Carol Morley and Christopher Hampton, Sean Gilbertson, CEO of Fabergé, Paddy Gilford Earl Clanwilliam, composers Michael Nyman and Gabriel Prokofiev, best selling author Boris Akunin, Russian film historians Orlando Figes and Catriona Kelly, and actors Olga Kurylenko, James Norton and Justine Waddell.
Prof Ian Christie
Professor at the University of Oxford
Ian Christie is Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is the co-curator of our exhibition at GRAD Unexpected Eisenstein. He co-curated Eisenstein: His Life and Art (Oxford Museum of Modern Art/Hayward Gallery, 1988). Ian also co-edited Eisenstein Rediscovered (1993) and The Film Factory: Russian and Soviet Cinema in Documents, 1896-1939 (1988). He is the author of monographs on Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger and Martin Scorsese.