My Friend Ivan Lapshin, Alexei Gherman’s arresting third solo feature, is one of the of the most heralded Russian films of the last 30 years, and one of the most celebrated movies of glasnost. A poll of Soviet critics in 1989 named it the best Soviet film of all time! An audacious, ironic, formally daring re-creation of the Stalinist era, told in flashback, and unfolding from the point-of-view of a nine-year-old boy, the film is set in the 1930s in a remote provincial town, where Ivan Lapshin, the local lawman, fearlessly maintains law and order while proving comically unlucky in love. Based on popular stories by Gherman’s father Yuri (a noted writer who was also the source for Gherman's long-banned Trial on the Road), the film is beautifully crafted, richly detailed, and — with the worst of the Stalinist terrors just around the corner — underlain with a disquieting sense of foreboding. “Masterly ... Wonderfully vivid performances and amazingly original camerawork (mostly in elegantly faded monochrome) bring a vanished world to life” (Tony Rayns, Time Out). “With his only his third major film, Gherman looks like the most radical force in Soviet cinema since Tarkovsky” (Ian Christie, Toronto I.F.F.). Colour and B&W, 35mm, in Russian with English subtitles. 101 mins.
"Anyone with a serious interest in Soviet cinema won't want to pass it up."Chicago Reader | full review