Schastye / Le Bonheur, 1934

Am I the only one who had never heard about this quirky and politically irreverent Russian silent movie written and directed by Alexandre Medvedkine in 1934? I still can’t quite believe what I saw :  the poor Khmyr has a wife who is strong enough to carry a polka-dotted horse on her shoulders, bra-less nuns harass the poor couple for money, a pope and gigantic nun fight like Mexican wrestlers over a wallet, and vilains with hobbit-esque noses and feet keep getting in the way of khmyr’s quest for happiness – while in the background the russia of the tsars transforms into the Soviet Union.

As part of a festival of ‘Cine-theater’ taking place at La Cartonnerie in Marseille, the Cartoun Sardines Theatre‘s 4 performers start by singing a song that states the movie’s title, the name of the director, the year is what created, and other facts that get imprinted in your mind in spite of you. Then they proceed to bring Schastye to life, using all kind of instruments and devices to create live bruitages and hilarious voice-over, sometimes stopping the reel to extrapolate and go into songs or comments. The actors/musicians/singers/dancers are fantastic, and the experience was pure delight – a beautiful surprise.

I wish i had found an excerpt of the movie to include here – but netflix has it, i think.

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