An Unfinished Piece for a Player Piano
(Neokonchennaya pyesa dyla mekhanicheskogo pianino)

Screening on Film
Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov.
With Aleksandr Kalyagin, Yelena Solovey, Yevgeniya Glushenko.
USSR, 1977, 35mm, color, 103 min.
Russian with English subtitles.

A splendid adaptation of Chekhov’s play Platonov, Mikhalkov’s work is dense with the atmosphere of a lazy summer’s day. Guests of a general’s window gather at a country estate in turn-of-the-century Russia. The ingenious mise-en-scène and intricate camera movements delicately reveals characters attempting to recapture their past while becoming immersed in a tragic farce. The Chekhovian humor of the original material perfectly complements the film’s bittersweet drama. The beautiful cinematography by Pavel Lebeshev contributes to the merger of the dramatic and the cinematic.

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: A–Z