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On Location in Silent Cinema

Friday, February 22, 2013
7:00 p.m. The Ghost That Does Not Return
Abram Room (U.S.S.R., 1930)

Imported Print!
Introduction/Anne Nesbet
Live Music/Bruce Loeb on piano


Anne Nesbet is associate professor in the Departments of Slavic languages and Literatures and Film and Media at UC Berkeley.

In The Ghost That Does Not Return (made in 1929, but not released until 1930), the grand and forbidding vistas of Azerbaijan stand in for an unnamed, oil-rich South American country, in which a revolutionary named José Real (Boris Ferdinandov), locked up for life in one of cinema's most photogenic panopticon prisons, is told he can go home to his family for a single day—with the catch that if he steps one inch out of line, as the warden is sure he'll do, his prison shadow (Maksim Shtraukh) will shoot him down. The Soviet Wild West meets avant-garde design!


—Anne Nesbet

• Written by Valentin Turkin, based on a novel by Henri Barbusse. Photographed by Dmitri Feldman. With Boris Ferdinandov, Olga Zhizneva, Maksim Shtraukh. (84 mins, 20fps, Silent with English intertitles, 35mm, From BFI/NFTVA)