|The Lady with the Dog|
Josef Heifitz U.S.S.R., 1960)
(Dama s sobachkoy). The Lady with the Dog is recognized as one of the few films to truly capture the essence of Chekhov. (It was made in 1960 to commemorate the centenary of Chekhov's birth.) This is the bittersweet, nostalgic story of a middle-aged banker, married with three children, who during a seaside holiday at Yalta encounters a pretty, young, also married, woman accompanied at all times by her Pomeranian dog. They have a brief affair and then part, but it is not over for either of them. The film played in the U.S. to rave reviews, though it is rarely seen now. Albert Johnson loved Chekhov and knew his work intimately, tracing the writer's influence on the cinema of a surprising diversity of directors, including Satyajit Ray. He screened The Lady with the Dog and invited the film's director, Josef Heifitz, and celebrated leading actress, Iya Savvina, to be among a delegation to the 1967 San Francisco Film Festival on the fiftieth anniversary of the Soviet cinema.
• Written by Heifitz, from a story by Anton Chekhov. Photographed by Andrei Moskvin. With Iya Savvina, Alexei Batalov, Nina Alisova, Peter Krimov. (90 mins, In Russian with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm)