Nikita Mikhalkov : between nostalgia and nationalism by Birgit Beumers

By Birgit Beumers

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When Kadyrkul tries to kill Shilov and run away with the gold, Shilov actually saves Kadyrkul’s life when the non-swimmer falls into the water; Shilov wins Kadyrkul’s absolute trust and devotion. Honesty and model behaviour make Shilov a winner all the time, not just once. Shilov takes Lemke hostage (Lemke knows the spy in the Cheka), but Brylov has stolen the gold. Another true Western-style chase follows: Shilov and Kadyrkul chase Brylov, floating down the wild mountain 26 Nikita Mikhalkov river to catch up with him.

Dreams of a Better Life: 1963–1975 33 Fedotov feels at ease and at home when he is with the crew, behaving in the same way as they do in his concern with his appearance and small compliments. After all, as a White he defends the bourgeois comforts from the communists in Moscow, who wish to remove them. Fedotov is an ardent admirer of Olga, who has deduced from her observations cameraman Viktor Pototsky’s involvement with the Revolutionary cause, and covers for Viktor (played by Rodion Nakhapetov, who was famous for his portrayal of strongminded characters) by confirming his presence on the set during the day.

Finally, Shilov remembers Vaniukin’s face. Shilov escapes as he is taken to prison for treason, and finds and interrogates Vaniukin, who leads him to Brylov. Events now happen at great speed: Shilov sends Vaniukin to the headquarters to confess; Vaniukin admits that he has drugged Shilov; Vaniukin is forced to act as bait to catch the thief of the gold. Zabelin leaves with the cavalry to chase Brylov and retrieve the gold, accompanied by the waltz ‘Farewell to the Slavianka’ (‘Proshchanie Slavianki’) that traditionally accompanies all departures of the Russian military.

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