The Last Bolshevik

Director: Chris Marker
Year Released: 1993
Rating: 2.5

Cluttered tribute by essayist Marker to one of his key influences and friends, the (to Western audiences) obscure Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Medvedkin and Medvedkin's struggles with the Russian government during his lifetime (ironically, he died in 1989). Marker is polite and respectful towards his subject but also free to be critical of his friend's optimism - there's a defeatist tone in this that's hard to shake. I'm not going to lie: normally I find Marker's essays entrancing, and yet this one left me cold: there's great poetry in the voice-over and accompanying images - Marker mines Russian history for bits and pieces like the Master Archivist he's always been - but it's also overambitious and not always simple to follow. Sometimes some movies take multiple viewings to parse and decipher (and a certain mood on the viewer's part) - this appears to be one of them.