The last film in this season’s Cinema at Tusculum film series will be East-West (1999), a French, Russian, Bulgarian collaborative project set in Stalinist Soviet Union. The film will be show on March 25, at 7 p.m. in the Behan Arena. Students who attend receive Arts & Lecture Credit.
The film will be introduced by Dr. Biliana Stoytcheva-Horissian, the chair of the Theater Department at Emory & Henry College. Dr. Stoytcheva-Horissian, who not only was familiar with the film through her Bulgarian heritage (the film was shot in Bulgaria), but she also has a family member who appears in the film.
Dr. Stoytcheva-Horissian is from a well-known Bulgarian acting family, both her mother and father are famous actors in the country. It is her brother-in-law, Atanass Atanassov, who plays Viktor, who appeared in the movie East-West as the swimming coach.
“Every time I watch the movie I’m really moved by their desire to be free,” said Dr. Stoytcheva-Horissian. “It is very realistically drawn.”
And, that is what she most wants to impress upon the audience, that the movie show a true picture of the fear that comes from living in a socialistic environment.
“The reality is that this fear really existed.”
The film, selected by Assistant Professor of Psychology Tom Harlow, is the story of an idealistic Russian physician who answers Stalin’s call for expatriates to return to the Motherland. Harlow said he selected the film because he felt it a natural follow-up to Dr. Zhivago, but also because of the film’s surprising power and story line of multiple characters living under duress in the Stalin-ruled Soviet Union.
- East-West” was nominated for the “Best Foreign Language Film” Academy Award. French actress Catherine Deneuve played Gabrielle Develay in the movie.
- The two main Russian actors did not speak French. They memorized all their lines phonetically.
- The book Marie reads in the film is Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert.