Fragment of an Empire 1929
A story which explores the significance of fragmented memories against the backdrop of time, the often revelatory Fragment of an Empire explores the changing landscape in Russia circa the late 1920's as the film follows the course of events surrounding one lone-man's perilous journey forward.

At the center of Ermler’s fable-esque tale is Filimonov (Fyodor Nikitin), a soldier who was left shell-shocked by his service in the Russian imperial army. Stuck in a small countryside village in a PTSD-induced haze for a decade, the young man is unaware of who he is and of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and the rise of communism. But a series of aural and visual cues stirs him from his reverie—a familiar face on a train, the ringing of a bell, the medallion bearing the image of Cross of St. George that hangs from his neck, and the rapid movement of a sewing machine that reminds him of the firing of a machine gun—and soon he starts to grapple with the ghosts of his past and a world completely transformed by the revolution.

As the environment surrounding him continues to change and develop, Fragment of an Empire transcends its own timestamp as it turns into an imaginative and surrealist experience. The filmmaking excels as a visually-unique silent film with a central protagonist who goes on a haunting journey from start to finish.


Director: Fridrikh Ermler
Cast: Fyodor Nikitin, Emil Gal, Sergey Gerasimov, Yakov Gudkin, Varvara Myasnikova, Lyudmila Semyonova
Country: Soviet Union
Genre: Drama

BD50 | 1080p AVC | 01:48:54 | 31.9 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Russian intertitles
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Two musical scores: a brilliant new score composed and performed by Stephen Horne and Frank Bockius as well as an adaptation of Vladimir Deshevov’s 1929 piano score, performed by Daan van den Hurk.

Audio Commentary featuring Russian film historian and curator Peter Bagrov and film restorer Robert Byrne.

Restoring Fragment of an Empire (HD, 12:40) showcases a selection of sequences in contrast to the final cut with two versions displayed side-by-side: one showing the non-restored original version and one of the newly restored incarnation. It's a fascinating comparison and helps to showcase how much effort went into the restoration.

Poster Gallery is a click-through image gallery showcasing five different (and highly distinctive) pieces of art created for the release of the film.

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