Diplomatic Pouch And Love Berry

A striking demonstration of how adroit and creative Alexander Dovzhenko was as a commercial director just before he started making his own more personal and sometimes more difficult films, the first of which was the 1927 Zvenigora. Diplomatic Pouch (1927, 72 min.) is said to have some remote connection to the director’s stint as a diplomat, but in fact it’s an entertaining spy thriller with British villains, inspired by the assassination of Soviet diplomat Teodor Nette. It’s the only Dovzhenko film in which he appears as an actor (stoking the engine on a ship), and the editing is very inventiveas it is in the lively half-hour comedy Love Berry (1926), about a vain barber trying to dispose of his illegitimate offspring, which shows the influence of Chaplin. (JR)

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