Cossacks of Kuban

Cossacks of the Kuban

classified U S

Melodia! Musicals from Russia and the Caucasus


Please note: This was screened in Jan 2020

Ivan Pyrev
Sergei Lukyanov, Marina Ladynina, Aleksandr Khvylya
112 mins, Subtitled, 1949,  Russian

A masterful mythologisation of the Soviet way of life, singing Soviets on the Steppe are to the fore in this richly coloured Romeo and Juliet-style tale of two rival farms.

Shot by famed Russian musical director Ivan Pyrev (who is often referred to as the High Priest of Stalinist cinema), this is a Soviet answer to the American musicals of the 1930s and 40s. Glorifying life on the Steppe, the film uses a love rivalry between the chairmen of two collective farms to throw obstacles in the way of our heroine Dasha and her dashing horse breeder, Nikolai.

Accompanied by Isaac Dunaevsky’s brilliant musical score, this artefact of glorification of the abundance of the Soviet way of life was still heavily edited due to Stalinist censorship. Heavy on propaganda-styled dialogue and featuring a starring role for Pyryev’s wife, Marina Ladynina, this rare film also boasts some truly breath-taking musical numbers.

Screening as part of BFI Musicals! The Greatest Show on Screen, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery, BFI Film Audience Network and ICO.

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