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Envisioning Russia: A Century of Filmmaking

Saturday, October 18, 2008
8:30 p.m. The Letter Never Sent
Mikhail Kalatozov (U.S.S.R., 1959)

(Neotpravlennoye pismo). This follow-up to The Cranes Are Flying follows a guide and three geologists through the virgin forests of Central Siberia on the search for diamonds. Success comes at a price: before the team can return to civilization, they are trapped by a vast forest fire. Probably no other filmmaking team inspires more cries of “How’d they do that?” than Mikhail Kalatozov and cinematographer/cameraman Sergei Urushevsky (lately known here for I Am Cuba). The camerawork here is spectacular, and the scenes of the forest fire are simply unforgettable.

—Richard Peña

• Written by Valery Osipov, Viktor Rozov. Photographed by Sergei Urushevsky. With Vasili Smoktovnosky, Tatiana Samoilova, Evgeny Urbansky. (97 mins, In Russian with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Seagull Films)