Thursday, 10 November 2011

Inspiration - Twelve Chairs

For the past couple of weeks I've been desperately trying to find the subtitles for the old Russian mini-series "The Twelve Chairs" (1976). It's based on a classic book by Ilf and Petrov. The plot involves a desk clerk and a sly conman looking for twelve chairs with diamonds hidden in one of them. They travel around the whole country trying to hunt down each chair, revealing the life of that period of time.

There are multiple versions of this story filmed in America, Prague and and Russia. Russia released two versions in the span of 5 years, and I've seen both as a child.
The one I love in particular is a later  version by Zakharov. It's very different from classical comedies of the time - comparing to the first version, it has a more theatrical feel to it. There's a lot of narrative, characters often break the fourth wall and the entire film was created indoors, including the street scenes. While many saw it as a disadvantage, I really liked the staged, stylised look of the 1920's Russian streets. (Generally Pre-soviet Russia had some beautiful designs before the commies came and ruined everything) It combines antique interiors and sleezy atmosphere, which is why I thought it might be relevant for our project. Unfortuantely, I couldn't find an English version anywhere, so here are some stills I took from the first episode:

More stuff under the cut-

I tried to find some information about how they went about decorations and research, but didn't find much info. I'll try to look into films based in that timeline, and look for more stuff in the library :)

1 comment:

  1. ment to comment on this a while ago - this film looks really nice for costumes and furniture. I'll try and watch it online, subs or no subs lol