Sunday, April 22, 2007



Among the restored/classic/historical films at the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) is the 1959 Russian film The Letter That Was Never Sent (Neotpravlennoye pismo (1959)). Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov with cinematography by Sergei Urusevsky (who is also the assistant director / second unit director), it chronicles a search for diamonds in Siberia.

The style of direction, writing, and cinematography is Russian heroism. These are patriots who will do anything, no matter how difficult or dangerous, to advance Soviet industry and thereby become famous for their historical, important discoveries, through pioneering the wilds of Siberia to discover diamonds.

The beautiful black and white cinematography frames the characters in the most heroic poses, and dramatizes the desolate environment. The directorial set pieces are amazing.

The acting is much more naturalistic than the other elements of the film.

As a footnote to the film, it is ironic to relate the optimism of the characters here, who believe that discovering diamonds will be the seed that spawns a great industrial complex in Siberia, with the despair that Blood Diamond describes as the fate of Sierra Leone because of the discovery of diamonds there.

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