Boris Barnet and Odessa.

Ilyinsky in Odessa
Ilyinsky in Otsep and Barnet’s Miss Mend partly filmed in Odessa

A few years ago I visited the Odessa Film Studio during the Odessa Film Festival. I was curious about the possibility that Barnet whether they had some information about Boris Barnet at the studios. No, they told me, Barnet had not worked for the Odessa Film Studios- his film The Poet was filmed forMosfilm. After that I thought no more of trying to connect Barnet and Odessa (I had watched Barnet’s The Poet a long time previously and presumed that it must have all  been shot at the Mosfilm studios and other locations). And yet I was wrong to have dropped these associations between Barnet and Odessa from my mind.

Barnet did film The Poet at least partially in the city of Odessa as he did with his subsequent film The Wrestler and the Clown- which he completed after the death of Konstantin Iudin who had completed only one reel (and the film Liana is also associated with Odessa as well as Chisinau). Moreover, Barnet was said to have met his third wife, Elena Kuzmina, in Odessa and to have worked on the script of Outskirts there. So there’s definitely some research to do here.

Interestingly there is (at least) one extant letter from Barnet written in Odessa to Inna Filimonova on September 1, 1956 (written during his shooting of the film said to be broadly based on the life of the great Odessan poet, Eduard Bagritsky). It has been published in Russian in Kinovedcheskie Zapisky and I am hoping to translate it shortly.

Hopefully, I’ll have some further information about Barnet in Odessa. It is true to say that although these films were shot partly in Odessa they were Mosfilm productions (with the exception of Liana). In his letter to Inna Filimonova he mentions an intention to stay in Yalta for a month where he will shoot some sets. In fact there’s yet another film with scenes shot both in Odessa and Yalta- and that’s the very first film that Barnet worked on an (assistant) director- Miss Mend.

(Thanks to this excellent site on Odessa and Cinema http://zanuda-32.narod.ru which supplied some of the information).

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