The Drama in the Futurists Cabinet No. 13 (1914)

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spadeneal

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The Drama in the Futurists Cabinet No. 13 (1914)

PostTue May 17, 2011 4:22 am

For years I have known of this title and figured it was something we'd never know very much about; all that existed was a couple of dim stills and the reports of contemporary newspapers. The only confirmed participants were Mikhail Larianov and Natalia Goncharova, and the sources I read indicated that they were the makers of this film, which seemed odd as they were poets/painters who didn't have much contact with even still photography. It was also said that the Burliuk brothers had something to do with the project, but no further details.

Imagine my surprise when I ran into the entry on imdb and the cast listing was very complete, identifying the cinematographer (Alphonse Winkler) and adding Vladimir Mayakovsky to the cast. Another source even added a second title, I Want to be a Futurist (1914), starring Mayakovsky, and established Vladimir Burliuk as the director of The Drama in the Futurist Cabinet No. 13. My question is, has The Drama in the Futurist Cabinet No. 13 been found, or is there some essay now that fills that gaps in on these early Russian Futurist films that I have not seen?

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urbanora

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PostTue May 17, 2011 3:07 pm

It may be no more than someone taking information from Jay Leyda's book Kino. Leyda gives Vladimir Kasyanov as director, Alphone Winkler and N. Torpokov as photographers, and the cast as Larionov and Goncharova. That's in his filmography - it the main text of the book he also mentions Burliuk and then goes on in the same paragraph to write about Mayakovsky's enthusiasm for cinema. Might someone have read Leyda too quickly and assumed erroneously that Mayakovsky appeared in the film?
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PostWed May 18, 2011 6:40 am

urbanora wrote:It may be no more than someone taking information from Jay Leyda's book Kino. Leyda gives Vladimir Kasyanov as director, Alphone Winkler and N. Torpokov as photographers, and the cast as Larionov and Goncharova. That's in his filmography - it the main text of the book he also mentions Burliuk and then goes on in the same paragraph to write about Mayakovsky's enthusiasm for cinema. Might someone have read Leyda too quickly and assumed erroneously that Mayakovsky appeared in the film?


Thank you urbanora; it has been so long since I have dipped into Kino that I had quite forgotten that the film is covered in some depth there. Mayakovsky was involved in film quite a bit as a writer, and did enough work that a couple of his efforts still survive; moreover he was a member, from 1911, of the "Hylaea" branch of Russian Futurism that David Burliuk led. But that does not automatically mean that he was involved in Drama in the Futurists' Cabaret No. 13 specifically; from what I understand, this was like a "reality TV" short, with Larianov and Goncharova wandering around Moscow with painted faces -- for some reason the Hylaea Futurists thought painted faces were really cool -- and the reactions of passers by to their weird behavior. Drama in the Futurists' Cabaret No. 13 can also be added to the canon of silent film nudity, as Goncharova appeared topless in some scenes.

Apparently for such a modest production the film did pretty well; David Burliuk used it as a part of a lecture tour he conducted in Russian and Ukrainian urban centers in the first half of 1914. But as the film was essentially non-commercial and the print apparently did not arrive in the USA along with Burliuk when he settled here in 1922, I have little hope that it will surface, though you never know.

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