Special 30th : Exquisite Corpse

It Was the month of May

Byl messiats maï

1970
ex-URSS
1h50
Fiction
B&W
Russian with french subtitles

A film chosen by Serge Bozon

The red flag is flying over the Reichstag in May 1945. In a small German village, a group of Russian soldiers are experiencing their first days of peace. Under lieutenant Nikolaev, they discover the reality of Nazism and the concentration camps. The soldiers are searching for a peasant, Raschke, who had compelled a young Polish woman to sacrifice herself so that his pigs could be fed, and was responsible for the death of numerous Poles.

It was in May. The war had just ended. Five Russian soldiers, who had taken refuge with German farmers, were waiting to go back home. What were they to do in the meantime? Sing, dance, not capture any new prisoners, take walks.
There are other films that are free enough to make one forget about any preliminary scenario. In contrast with the French tradition (Rozier, Pialat, Rivette...), where the gaping of the scenario allows for unexpected frictions, storms of resentment, or block of visible theatre, everything here exists for the benefit of musical-like fluidity, as if it were “captured live”.
Only, this real-time fluidity makes the discovery of a concentration camp all the more violent. The soldiers do not understand the use of the showers or the ovens. One last song (extra-diegetic, for the first time) understands it for them, for the audience, and for everyone.

Serge Bozon (translated by Naomi Vogt)
Cast
Alexandre Arjilovski, Petr Todorovski, Serguei Chakourov, Victor Ouralski, Igor Klass, Evguenia Plechkite
Screenplay
Grigori Baklanov
Photography
Vladimir Ocherov
Art direction
Vladimir Korovine
Production
Mostelefilm

Films in the Retrospective