Serge Prokofiev. 1934

Serge Prokofiev plays for those involved in the filming of Lieutenant Kizhe.

The second part of our film season to mark the 50th anniversary of the death
of Sergei Prokofiev features two Russian films,
Tonya (1942) and Lermontov (1944)
never before screened in the UK. Indeed
Tonya, was judged politically unsound and never released in Russia.
The programme, which also includes
Lieutenant Kizhe (1934) and the masterpiece Alexander Nevsky, complements the London Symphony Orchestra concerts in the Barbican Hall.
Presented in association with the Serge Prokofiev Archive at Goldsmiths College.

Sun 2 May 2.15pm
ntroduced by Prokofiev historian John Riley

TONYA (Nashi Devushki) (PG) British Premiere

Abram Room's Tonya tells the heroic story of a telephone operator who sacrifices her life by drawing Soviet artillery fire onto the Nazi weapons that are stored near her office. Like Room's earlier film A Severe Young Man, Tonya was banned by the Soviet authorities. Prokofiev wrote the stirring score in August 1942, basing part of it on a song for which his second wife Mira Mendelson wrote the words.

USSR 1942 Dir. Abram Room 32 min.

Plus :


A compelling portrait of Prokofiev1s life and work, featuring archive material, newsreel footage and interviews with Rostropovich, Mark Ermler, Alexander Melik-Pashaev, David Oistrakh and Lev Oborin. Lidia Stepanova's documentary also includes excerpts from Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and War and Peace (with Galina Vishnevskaya), staged scenes from Story of a Real Man, a sequence on Prokofiev's work with Eisenstein, and extracts featuring Rozhdestvensky conducting Prokofiev's 5th and 7th Symphonies.

USSR 1961 Dir. Lidia Stepanova 64 min.

Sun 2 May 4.30pm

LERMONTOV (PG) British Premiere

A precious opportunity to hear Prokofiev's music for 1944 film Lermontov, never before seen in Britain. Albert Gendelshtein's film is a portrait of the great nineteenth century Russian writer and poet Mikhail Lermontov, the inheritor of Pushkin's mantle, who, like his mentor, died in a duel at the age of twenty six. Lermontov's affection for the serfs and peasantry, and his criticisms of the Tsar, endeared him to the post-revolutionary Soviet regime. Prokofiev was one of two composers for the film (the other being Venedict Pushkov). Featuring Prokofiev's two pieces, Contradance and Mephisto Waltz.

USSR 1944 Dir. Albert Gendelshtein 77 min.

Sat 8 May 2.15pm


Prokofiev's first composition for the cinema was one of the very earliest Soviet sound films, a charming tale about an office clerk who, when copying out a list of officers to be presented to the Tzar, inadvertently adds a non-existent Lieutenant Kizhe. The unusual name catches the Tzar's eye, and he promotes him. Kizhe later falls into disfavour and is sentenced to Siberia, is pardoned, and promoted to General. When he 'dies', Kizhe's empty coffin is given an imperial funeral. A clever satire on official stupidity and bureaucracy. Prokofiev's score for the film, in a slightly altered arrangement, is renowned in its concert form as the Lieutenant Kizhe Suite.

USSR 1934 Dir. Alexander Faintsimmer 87 min.

Sat 8 May 4.00pm


An historical pageant of no equal, and one of the most perfect examples of synchronisation of music and film. In 1242 on the ice of Lake Peipus, the Russian army of Prince Alexander Nevsky defeats the Teutonic invaders. Made at the time of the rising political threat of Nazi Germany, Eisenstein's allegorical triumph is littered with dazzling pictorial effects: the vast horizontal plains of ice and snow, the cloudy, glittering skies, the waiting armies, the galloping lines of menacing helmets. Finally there is the epic climax of the battle itself, during which the gloriously creative collaboration between Eisenstein and Prokofiev reaches its astonishing apex.

USSR 1938 Dir. Sergei Eisenstein 112 min.

Booking information

Full price 7
Concessionary rate: 5.50

Box Office: 0845 120 7527

Barbican Cinema
Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS