Soviet director, actress, and long-time collaborator of Ukrainian filmmaker Alexander Dovzhenko, her husband, Yuliya Solntseva directed and starred in more than twenty films. Both Solntseva and Dovzhenko produced “propaganda” films that were concerned with the meaning of revolutionary change, but these were films which also prioritized beauty and the poetic, firmly cementing their work in the realm of lyrical visionaries like Terrence Malick. Solntseva’s directorial pursuits were developed under the auspices of continuing her husband’s legacy, and as a result her reputation in an auteur-hungry world cinema culture has languished in her husband’s shadow. However, Solntseva’s singular prowess as a director adapting Dovzhenko’s lavish screenplays has been continually touted by such luminaries as Jonathan Rosenbaum and Jean-Luc Godard, and Solntseva was awarded Best Director at Cannes in 1961 for The Story of the Flaming Years. Solntseva’s essential “Ukrainian Trilogy” will be presented in 35- and 70mm: Poem of an Inland Sea (1958, Honorary Diploma at the International Film Festival in London), The Enchanted Desna (1964, Special Diploma of the Jury at San Sebastián International Film Festival), and the aforementioned Flaming Years, which earned Solntseva the first Cannes award ever won by a woman director. All three offer profound ruminations on death and the meaning of life, grounded in dreams that make for fluid, operatic narratives.
Organized by guest curator Max Carpenter with the cooperation of Gosfilmofond of Russia, Mosfilm, and The Museum of Modern Art. 35mm and 70mm prints courtesy of Gosfilmofond.
Desna and Flaming Years are also included as part of See It Big! 70mm, an ongoing series organized by Associate Film Curator Eric Hynes and Chief Curator David Schwartz