Support The Moscow Times!

Silent Soviet Comedy Gets New Music Show

A poster for Boris Barnet’s 1928 comic gem, ‘The House on Trubnaya.’

A 1920s Soviet silent film classic, "The House on Trubnaya," by Boris Barnet, a raucous slapstick comedy, will be shown Tuesday, with live music specially written for the film.

Barnet, who worked as a soldier, boxer, and acrobat before finding his way to filmmaking, had an eclectic, often brilliant career and "The House on Trubnaya," which gives a glimpse of life on Moscow streets in 1928, is considered his masterpiece.

The film follows young peasant girl who ends up in Moscow at the height of the NEP [New Economic Policy], when the Soviets loosened their hold on the economy and allowed capitalism to edge in.

Although technically supposed to have some didactic purpose, Barnet experiments in the film with everything from documentary-style realism to Hollywood-worthy artifice, and keeps the action — and jokes — coming at a brisk pace.

The Russian Encyclopedia of Cinema in its listing for the film says that "despite the many decades that have passed, the film has lost none of its charm, lightness or humor."

The music for the show was composed at the Tromso film festival last year and a quartet of Norwegian musicians will perform, one of seven showings of the film with the musicians that are taking place all over Russia.

"The House at Trubnaya." Sept. 9. At 7 p.m. Kosmos cinema. 109 Prospekt Mira. Metro. VDNKh. 495-687-4669. www.kosmoskino.ru.

Contact the author at artsreporter@imedia.ru

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.