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Restored Nevksy projects great story and technique


LSC Friday Classics.

10-250, 7:30 p.m.

By Raul A. Gonzalez

W hoever comes in peace is welcome, but whoever comes with a sword shall die by the sword." With these words, says the legend, Prince Alexander Vasilievich Nevsky led the Russians to fight not only for their land, but against Teutonic imperialism. The year was 1242, and the Teutons had brutally conquered a large part of the Russian Empire in a kind of blitzkrieg of ancient times. The city of Pskov and the whole of western Russia had surrendered to the merciless Teutons, who then set their eyes on Novgorod, the epitome of progress of the Russian motherland.

Seven centuries later, in 1939, the imperialist threat was still present, but few Russians realized it after the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. In spite of this seemingly peaceful scenario, Stalin asked the great director Sergei Eisenstein to make a film that would awake the conscience of the Soviet nation to fight for their motherland against the potential enemy, then disguised with swastikas instead of the traditional sword and armor. This explains Eisenstein's clever idea to use in his Alexander Nevsky the traditional story of Prince Alexander in order to make the political message clear.

Although Alexander Nevsky was initially intended to be war propaganda, where content often overshadows technique, Eisenstein took advantage of some of his innovative cinematographic techniques to create one of the most visually astounding battle scenes ever filmed: the battle of Lake Chudskoe, which also serves as the climax of the film. Stalin also asked the famous composer Sergei Prokofiev to write the musical score for this film. The collaboration between these two geniuses of the Communist era resulted in one of the most striking portraits of the eternal battle between good and evil ever filmed.

A special feature of tonight's Classic film is that the copy of Alexander Nevsky has been fully restored from the original print, complete with a remastered version of Prokofiev's original score played by the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra.