The Last Bolshevik

Directed by Chris Marker

116 minutes / Color
Release: 1998
Copyright: 1993

Based on the life and work of the Russian film director Alexander Medvedkin (1900-1989), THE LAST BOLSHEVIK is a tribute from one filmmaker to another. An archeological expedition into film history that reveals new cinematic treasures, the film prompts a reflection on the relation between art and politics in the former Soviet Union.

The film captures the commitment, energy, struggles, illusions and disillusions of a believing but never naïve Bolshevik. From Medvedkin's classic 1934 satire Happiness, and the 'film train' which he directed in the 1930s, to his sardonic comedies and bitter war newsreels, Chris Marker draws a panorama of the artistic, political, and moral universe of a life and a country, bringing it right up to date with his own vision of Russia today.

An intricate work with many levels and layers, The Last Bolshevik is also a distillation of the art and beliefs of one of the greatest documentarians of our time, Chris Marker, who has revolutionized documentary as his near-contemporary Jean-Luc Godard transformed film fiction, crossing boundaries and mixing genres.

"Eloquent and mordantly witty in its poetic writing, beautiful and often painterly in its images, this is as moving and as provocative in many respects as Marker's SANS SOLEIL. Not to be missed." —Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader

 "THE LAST BOLSHEVIK [is] the most haunting, corrosive, and thoughtful exploration of the train wreck we called the 20th century." —Howard Hampton, Artforum

 "Marker puts voice-over narration and interviews into a jazzy, contrapuntal relation to his bold visual assemblies; his montage moves on waves of thought and feeling." —The New Yorker

 "Chris Marker, the most poetic and original of documentarists, paints a picture of Medvedkin and the extraordinary era in which he lived that is the best kind of history, illustrating the general with the particular THE LAST BOLSHEVIK [is] not only an invaluable document about the century but also a deeply personal attempt to make some sense of it." —Derek Malcolm, The Guardian

 "Should be required viewing for any young would-be documentary-maker." —The Daily Telegraph

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A Film by Chris Marker

Select Accolades

  • 2001 DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival


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