Not Yet a Time for Sorrow

[Время печали еще не пришло]

Not Yet a Time for Sorrow film still courtesy of www.ctb.ru

Russia, STW, 1995
Director: Sergei Sel'ianov
Script: Sergei Sel'ianov and Mikhail Konoval'chuk
Cinematography: Denis Shchiglovskii
Music: Vladimir Radchenkov
With Valerii Priemykhov, Petr Mamonov, Marina Levtova, Mikhail Svetin, Semen Strugachev, Sergei Parshin, Iuris Strenga, Viktor Dement

Completing a trilogy of sorts ― after A Saint's Day and Day of the Spirit  Not Yet exhibits the earmarks of Sel'ianov's earlier work: diegesis perched on the border between the fantastic and the drably quotidian, symbolic-allegorical figurations, aesthetic traditionalism touched around the edges with tints of "magic realism," and an equally traditionalist taste for philosophical syntheses. To these characteristics, Not Yet adds a complicated narrative mechanism in which an uncertain dream/reality in the present frames, thus making uncertain, the reality (dream–) of the past. In this ontologically unstable past, Sel'ianov nestles an extended episode from his hero's youth, bringing together in an unmistakably allegorical fashion a group of characters from different ethnicities and faiths: a Jew (Semen Strigachev), a Tatar (Mikhail Svetin), a Gypsy (Viktor Dement), a German (Iuris Strenga), and a Russian (Sergei Parshin). The film's main hero, Ivanov (Valerii Priemykhov), is the odd man in this congregation, as is the other central figure, Methodius (Petr Mamonov). The latter arrives on the scene as a visitor from another dimension, incompatible with the intellectual and ethical makeup of those among whom he settles. A land surveyor by profession, Methodius professes universal harmony and happiness; conversing with the different ethnic "representatives" in their native language, he refuses to identify with a particular nationality or religion (to the question, "What is your faith–" he responds, "The common one"). He thus functions as a kind of "vanishing mediator" between the heterogeneous cultural profiles, offering each one of them access to a redeeming universality. To the young Ivanov, Methodius offers the vocation of the artist, which―we are invited to surmise―cuts across the template of particular, narrow, identities, and communes directly with the universal. Both these promises are subsumed within Methodius's overarching apocalyptic prophecy of a happy "Age of Aquarius." The present that frames Ivanov's (dream) flashback to his childhood is none other than the day prophesied to open this beatific temporality. And it is only fitting that in a story whose past and present have undermined each other through the device of the dream, the promise of a redeeming future should be undermined in a similar way: reunited at the site of their past cohabitation, the characters fall asleep and miss the solar eclipse that is supposed to inaugurate the miraculous transformation of their lives. As planes of reality cancel each other in a convoluted interplay of "visions" (of dream or prophecy), semblance might be the only thing that occurs "for real." A simulation of lovemaking, counterfeit banknotes, a cardboard airplane and cardboard Paris, a frog and a gun made from clay: so many semblances, so many instances of nothingness that pretends to be something, mark the landscape of a film narrative that very much wants to be "about something."

Sergei Sel'ianov

Sergei Sel'ianov photo

Sergei Sel'ianov was born in the town of Olonets in Karelia. From 1975 to 1978 he studied in the Tula Politechnical Institute, where he headed the amateur film studio "Sad." In 1980 he graduated from the film-script department at VGIK in the master class of Nikolai Figurovskii. In the same year Sel'ianov made his first feature film (A Saint's Day). This underground production, on which Sel'ianov corroborated with Nikolai Makarov, was released only in 1988. In 1989 Sel'ianov completed the master class for script writers and directors under the tutelage of Rolan Bykov. In 1992 he established the production company STW in partnership with Aleksei Balabanov and Vasilii Grigor'ev. After directing three films in the first half of the 1990s, Sel'ianov devoted himself fully to his work as a producer. Among his productions are some of the most successful Russian films of the last decade: Aleksandr Rogozhkin's Operation "Happy New Year" (1996), Peculiarities of National Hunting (1998), and Checkpoint (1998), Aleksei Balabanov's Brother (1997) and Brother 2 (2000), Maksim Pezhemskii's Don't Cry, Mommy (1998), and Sergei Bodrov's Sisters (2001).

Producer

2004 The American (Dir. Aleksei Balabanov; in production)
Don't Cry, Mommy-2 (Dir. Maksim Pezhemskii; in production)
The Great Cripple (Dir. Evgenii Iufit; in production)
Old Man Khottabych (Dir. Petr Tochilin; in production)
The Schiz: Fifty-Fifty (Dir. Gul'shad Omarova; in production)
Winter Heat (Dir. Stefan Vouiet)
2003 The Giant (Dir. Aleksandr Kott)
Little Longnose (Dir. Il'ia Maksimov; animation)
2002 All the Vertovs (Dir. Vladimir Napevnyi; documentary)
The Bear's Kiss (Dir. Sergei Bodrov Sr.)
The Cuckoo (Dir. Aleksandr Rogozhkin)
Dreams of Alpheoni (Dir. Vladimir Napevnyi; documentary)
Dziga and His Brothers (Dir. Evgenii Tsymbal; documentary)
Killed by Lightning (Dir. Evgenii Iufit)
Kostroma (Dir. Valerii Surikov)
The River (Dir. Aleksei Balabanov)
The Tale of Fedot the Archer (Dir. Sergei Ovcharov)
Tycoon (Dir. Pavel Lungine)
War (Dir. Aleksei Balabanov)
2001 April (Dir. Konstantin Murzenko)
Sisters (Dir. Sergei Bodrov)
Two Drivers (Dir. Aleksandr Kott)
2000 B-2 (Dir. Igor' Kalenov; documentary)
Brother 2 (Dir. Aleksei Balabanov)
How Brother 2 Was Filmed (Vladimir Nepevnyi; documentary)
Scarecrow (Dir. Aleksandr Kott; short)
1999 Adventures in the Emerald City (Dir. Aleksandr Makarov; animation series)
Best Before… (Dir. Petr Tochilin)
1998 Checkpoint (Dir. Aleksandr Rogozhkin)
Of Freaks and Men (Dir. Aleksei Balabanov)
Peculiarities of National Fishing (Dir. Aleksandr Rogozhkin)
Sergei Eisenstein. Mexican Fantasy (Dir.Oleg Kovalov; documentary)
Silver Heads (Dir. Evgenii Iufit)
1997 Brother (Dir. Aleksei Balabanov)
Don't Cry, Mommy (Dir. Maksim Pezhemskii)
1996 Operation "Happy New Year" (Dir. Aleksandr Rogozhkin)
Sergei Eisenstein. Autobiography (Dir. Oleg Kovalov; documentary)
1995 Not Yet a Time for Sorrow (Dir. Sergei Sel'ianov)
Trofim (Dir. Aleksandr Balabanov; short)
1994 The Castle (Dir. Aleksandr Balabanov)
1993 Battement (Dir. Marina Drozdova)
Sketches on the Civil War (Dir. Petr Soldatenkov; documentary)

Director

1995 Not Yet a Time for Sorrow
The Russian Idea
1990 Day of the Spirit
1988 A Saint's Day

Screenwriter

1995 Trofim (Dir. Aleksandr Balabanov; short)
Not Yet a Time for Sorrow (Dir. Sergei Sel'ianov)
1990 Day of the Spirit (Dir. Sergei Sel'ianov)
2004: Prophets and Gains Debut Films at Pittsburgh Filmmakers STW [СТВ] Film Company Pygmalion Productions NTV-Profit Film Company

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