STEAMROLLER AND THE VIOLIN, THE (KATOK I SKRIPKA)
(director/writer: Andrei Tarkovsky; screenwriters: Andrei Konchalovsky/based on a story by S. Bakhmetyeva; cinematographer: Vadim Yusov; editor: Lyubov Butuzova; music: Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov; cast: Igor Fomchenko (Sasha), Vladimir Zamansky (Sergei), Marina Adzhubei (girl in pink), Natalya Arkhangelskaya (girl); Runtime: 45; MPAA Rating: NR; Artkino Pictures/Janus/Facets; 1961-USSR-in Russian with English subtitles)
“An accessible minor work that reacts strongly against bullying children.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This is the competent student diploma film for the All-Union State Cinema Institute submitted by the 28-year-old future great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (“Stalker”/”The Sacrifice”), who later went on to make the masterpiece Andrei Rublev. It’s an accessible minor work that reacts strongly against bullying children.
The short children’s film is about the unlikely friendship between the artistic, timid 7-year-old Sasha (Igor Fomchenko) and a kindly prole Moscow street worker on a steamroller, who is named Sergei (Vladimir Zamansky). He is paving the street outside the boy’s apartment home. Meanwhile Sasha is afraid to leave his building, where a group of older boys taunt him and recklessly toss around the violin case he is carrying for his private music lesson. Sergei protects the boy from these bullies by shooing them away. Impressed by the kid’s love of music, the two form a friendship that might continue after the worker finishes paving if it weren’t for the boy’s clueless mother and the prole’s jealous girlfriend colleague keeping them apart. The simplistic film is far from great, but is well-executed and adds for gravitas a powerful cinematic voice speaking out against bullying.
REVIEWED ON 6/27/2018 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/