6.00- 7.15pm, at LTB 10
Dir. Evgeniy Tsymbal, 1988, 43 mins. Subtitles.
Set during the USSR’s show trials of the late 1930s, Russia’s only Bafta award-winning film is a taut, stunning and bleak thriller.
Late one evening, Defence Counsel Sedov hears a knock at the door. Three women whose agronomist husbands have been sentenced to death for alleged sabotage beg him to take on the seemingly hopeless task of saving them. Tortured, the men had confessed and now await their execution in a Siberian jail. The chance of setting these men free is remote. Nonetheless, Sedov embarks upon a succession of encounters with increasingly powerful officials, gradually persuading them to look at the case anew. But the highest authorities are not so easily outmaneuvered, as the film building inexorably to its astonishing climax.
Defence Counsel Sedov was made possible because of Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms of the late 1980s, which encouraged a more open discussion of the Soviet’s past. It is a triumph of the ‘glasnost’ period; yet 30 years later, it is almost impossible to find. The spectres of authoritarianism that haunted the USSR are still with us today.
Please join us for an insightful evening of film and debate led by Dr John Haynes from the Centre of Film Studies, University of Essex.