Classic Movie Hub (CMH)

Fragment of an Empire

March 16, 2019 <m>(Saturday)
Music Box Theatre
3733 N. Southport Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60613 (US)

Event Details

Directed by Fridrikh Ermler • 1929

Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott

An amnesiac soldier from Petrograd stumbles home from the eastern front after the First World War and finds a new and unrecognizable society awaiting him. His hometown is now Leningrad, and that's the least of it: workers' unions, modernist architecture, and new understandings of sex and marriage roil the landscape. (The title refers to people who recite all the right slogans but shuffle around like ghosts of the old order.) Fragment of an Empire is social history rendered as science fiction-a conceit that allows the film to explain the Soviet Union to itself and the wider world. An exceedingly nuanced work, Ermler's film is the rare artifact of Soviet cinema that might find equally fervent admirers from the ranks of DSA activists and Hoover Institution fellows: Fragment of an Empire takes the Russian Revolution and its toll on newly minted comrades seriously, giving equal weight to the excitement and the dislocation, the promise of a new society and the cataclysm of everyday life. Much admired in its day but long since consigned as another unadorned title in the film history books, Fragment of an Empire has been restored to its rapid-fire, emotional grandeur. Restoration by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and EYE Filmmuseum in partnership with Gosfilmofond of Russia. (KW)

109 min • Sovkino • 35mm from SFSFF Collection, Library of Congress

Short: [San Francisco After the Earthquake] (Miles Brothers, 1906) - 9 min - 35mm from SFSFF

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