Russian Avant-Garde: A Romance with the Revolution

Dir. Alexander Krivonos, Vesterholt Film & TV, Quadrat Film, 1999 | 54′, Denmark, Russia

The film project was presented at the Baltic Sea Docs 1997.

The dramatic story of three great Russian avant-garde painters from the beginning of the last century – Kazimir Malevich, Pavel Filonov and Vladimir Tatlin – and their supporter, Nikolai Punin, the first post-revolution Commissar of the Hermitage and Russian Museums. They dedicated their lives to belief in the revolution and its connection to avant-garde art, but the communist regime betrayed them. The history depicted on the painted canvases reflects the tumultuous period of the 1920s and 30s in the Soviet Union, in Leningrad and in artistic circles of the time. Only with perestroika have the avant-garde paintings, stored in museum archives, again seen the light of day.

Film director Alexander Krivonos (1949-2021) worked at film studio Quadrat Film. In cooperation with The State Russian Museum, he created films about Russian culture and art. “Russian Avant-Garde: A Romance with the Revolution” received the award for best documentary at FIPADOC (International Festival of Audiovisual Programmes) in Biarritz, France. The director has stated in interviews that the film’s success was due in part to his discovery of previously unseen 1918 archival film chronicles. 

In French with Latvian or English subtitles.