VYBORGSKAYA STORONA (1939)

The final part of the trilogy about the young Bolshevik activist Maxim sees him appointed Commissar of the National Bank following the Russian Revolution.

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Alternative titles

  • The VYBORG SIDE Alternative

Introduction

“A Leningrad cinema was named after the hero and the public demanded more films, even about Maxim’s as yet unborn children, but the directors had had enough and wanted to move on.”
John Riley, Dmitri Shostakovich: A Life in Film, 2005

The third and final part of Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg’s picaresque trilogy about Bolshevik activist Maxim reaches the Russian Revolution itself. Maxim naturally plays a leading role in the proceedings, after which he is appointed Commissar of the National Bank. But the earlier films’ subversive activities continue, this time in opposition to Maxim: Mensheviks, anarchists and bankers have different reasons for defying him.

Dmitri Shostakovich was now deemed so important to the Maxim films that he shared a title with the directors. His music wittily riffs on Kurt Weill in depicting the (implicitly German-influenced) enemies of the Revolution. Kozintsev reworked the film in 1965, removing approving references to Stalin that were deemed politically essential in 1939.

Kozintsev and Trauberg’s partnership dissolved in 1945, but Kozintsev went on to make several distinguished (and Shostakovich-scored) films, including the memorable Shakespeare adaptations Hamlet (1964) and King Lear (1971).

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