A Rodchenko photo of Barnet directing ‘Moscow in October’.

Rodchenko Barnet

The film ‘Moscow in October’ is a Boris Barnet film that is very rarely shown (partly because much of it is missing). And yet along with Eisenstein’s October and Pudovkin’s The End of Saint Petersburg it was one of this trio of films with which the Soviet state marked the tenth anniversary of the 1917 Revolution. Moreover, though its reputation has been sullied by a supposition that it wasn’t Barnet’s ‘type of film’, it does, nevertheless, have its champions.

One of the most impressive post-Soviet film critics and historians, Oleg Kovalov, wrote for the Seance journal an article suggesting that the Barnet was not necessarily the weaker of the three. Moreover, the list of those who worked with Barnet always impresses. Regarding this film, two of the greatest Soviet photographers were associated with it. Alexander Rodchenko was art director and his name needs little introduction to historians of the art of not just Soviet but world photography and art (the image is a photograph that Rodchenko took of Barnet when filming).

A second photographer who worked with the film crew and took many impressive photographs of scenes was Yakov Khalip. A first retrospective of his photography was shown at the prestigious photographic gallery in Moscow, the Lumiere Brothers’ Centre late last year. A number of the Moscow in October photographs were on show there ( some of them can be seen on this link ). Khalip was the author of a famous photograph of the Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida kissing Yuri Gagrin.

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