Chornaya roza—emblema pechaly, krasnaya roza—emblema lubuy
USSR, 1990, 126 min
Shown in 1990
COMMENTSSergei Solovyov attended the screening.
A breathtakingly irreverent and playful attempt to depict, in its director's words, "Sorrow, Love, Kitsch and Perestroika," Black Rose demonstrates more sheer love of filmmaking than anything to come along in ages. And it's certainly the first film from the USSR whose high spirits embody a total rejection of ideology. (Although, paradoxically, it manages to convey, just as powerfully as Kira Muratova's Asthenic Syndrome), the sense of weakness and aggression, somehow never distant from farce, that pervades so much of Russian life today.) As in all the films of director Sergei Solovyov (100 Days After Childhood, SFIFF 1975), the central character of his "melodramatic comedy" is a youngster. But there simply aren't any precedents anywhere in Soviet cinema for Black Rose's protagonist Mitya (Mikhail Rosanov), a 14-year-old who winds up a millionaire with a beautiful wife six years his senior and the father of a rosy-cheeked baby. With so much contemporary Soviet filmmaking mired in producing excruciatingly dull rip-offs of Tarkovsky or scheming about how to out-Hollywood Hollywood, Solovyov's tonic absurdism may point out a healthier path. It certainly makes for a very bracing viewing.