The Legendary Lenfilm Movie Studio May Give Way To Offices
The crisis that has befallen Russian cinema since the late 1980s is about to get deeper. Certain secret documents have surfaced that indicate that Lenfilm, Russia's oldest and world-famous film studio, is now fully in private hands. The hands belong to the businessman Vladimir Yevtushenkov who reportedly plans to move the studio grounds to the suburbs and build offices and elite apartments in their place instead.
Although the first Russian movies appeared well before Lenfilm had appeared, they were produced privately and catered primarily to the bourgeois interests. The appearance of Lenfilm was elevating Russian cinema to a totally new level. According to Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Soviet State in its first years, cinema was the most accessible art medium and, as such, it was the medium for the new era - that of Revolution and Communism. The mass popularity of movies only added to Cinema's now leading position among other forms of art.
Lenfilm Studio was founded in Petrograd in 1918. Among the films known to the Western public that were shot at Lenfilm are Hamlet (1964) and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson (1979). Other classical Russian and Soviet films include The Life of Klim Samgin (1987) after the novel by Maxim Gorky and numerous adaptations of Lope de Vega, Shakespeare, and Imre Kalman's operettas.
In 2008 it was agreed to create a consortium of Russian film studios, which was to include Mosfilm, Lenfilm and Gorky Youth Film Studio. However, it was known that Lenfilm's owners did not fancy the idea of amalgamating with other studios.
It remains to be seen what fate awaits the legendary movie grounds. Two of the leading Petersburg directors, with world-famous names, Alexander Sokurov and Alexei German the Elder have already addressed the Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin to help protect Lenfilm.
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