Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Slavonic Salon and 'Whale'!

Lady Windermere's Caffeinated Art and Literature Salons present a special Slavonic evening on Wednesday 14th December (final pub night!). With silent cinema screenings of the classic Man With a Movie Camera, bilingual poetry readings by the Russian department's own Natasha Kulachkovskaya and Brigit McCone, songs of the Russian bards played and sung live, and finishing with a screening of a new subtitling of the Bulgarian film 'Whale' by Ellie Boyadzhieva and Brigit McCone.

Above: the climax of whale as Comrade Director Parushev (veteran Bulgarian actor Georgi Kaloyanchev) hallucinates the whale.

Directed by Peter Vasiliev, Whale is a biting satire of the bureaucratic incompetence and empty propaganda of 1960s Bulgaria, set to a swinging jazz soundtrack. Made at a tricky moment in 1967 when the Thaw was coming to an end and the Prague Spring threatened democratic revolution, the film was held up by 2 years' wrangling with the censors before being given a limited release without fanfare (where it still attracted sell-out crowds and spawned famous Bulgarian catch-phrases such as the classic optimist vs. pessimist debate 'It's fish but it's a sprat!' 'It's a sprat, but it's fish!'). Disappearing again until the end of communism, the film's rerelease in Bulgaria sparked renewed interest, but it is still virtually unknown abroad and not widely available in English translation.

Click here to watch the full film on Youtube

A haven of coffee, conversation and cookies set amidst chill-out zones, classic silent cinema, musicality, performance, paintings, browsable reading matter, vintage wares and holistic healings, Lady Windermere's Salons will be open Wednesday - Sunday from 4pm to 9pm until the winter solstice in the Back Loft, with different performances and events each day - visit for details. 

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