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The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (1938)

Detstvo Gorkogo (original title)
A drama reveals the great writer's inauspicious early years as an orphan raised by conniving relatives.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Aleksei Lyarsky ...
Varvara Massalitinova ...
Mikhail Troyanovsky ...
Vasili Vasilyevich Kashirin, grandfather
Elizaveta Alekseeva ...
Varvara Kashirina Peshkova, mother (as E. Alekseeva)
Vyacheslav Novikov ...
Uncle Yakov Kashirin (as V. Novikov)
Aleksandr Zhukov ...
Mikhail Kashirin, an uncle
K. Zubkov ...
Old Grigori
Daniil Sagal ...
Ivan, aka 'Gypsy'
Sergey Tikhonravov ...
The Lodger (as S. Tikhonravov)
Igor Smirnov ...
Alexei, aka 'Lenka' or 'Lex', a crippled boy
E. Mamaev ...
Sacha Kashirin, nephew
V. Korochentchikov ...
Mikhail's son, also named Sacha
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Storyline

This haunting, unforgettable film, based upon Maxim Gorky's 1913 autobiography, shows a twelve-year-old's journey in life against the tumultuous backdrop of 19th century Russia. With tableaux beautifully vivid and forceful, it recounts the touching relationships which develop when Gorky is put into custody at his grandparents' home. His grandmother, a simple woman who knows how to make people laugh, represents optimism in the direst situations, honesty in a world of deceit. Gorky's poverty-stricken childhood formed his life-long compassion for the underdog, and the film is filled with powerful portraits of lower class people whose qualities of integrity and dignity shine through their hopeless circumstances. Among many others are the half-blind Grigory, who works at the grandfather's dye factory, and Gorky's little orphaned friends, who live out of garbage cans, dreaming of a utopian neverland. From these portraits come an inspiring, panoramic view of human conditions and conflicts. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

27 September 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

My Childhood  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Followed by Gorky 3: My Universities (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Maxim Gorky Trilogy I
11 February 2004 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

Alexei Peshkov (who will later assume the pen-name Maxim Gorky) grows up in a small village by the Volga, at the house of his tyrannical grandfather and his kind and wise grandmother. Through the eyes of 12-year-old Alexei we meet an abundance of richly drawn characters in a tapestry of powerful scenes that are funny, sad or cruel - and sometimes all three at once. Donskoy furthermore infuses his film with a visual poetry that is aided immensely by a breathtaking black-and-white cinematography.

Remarkably free of propagandistic intentions and ideological stereotyping, this movie does not judge, condemn nor lecture, but, like Gorky himself, sees the humanity in even the most unsympathetic personalities.

**** (out of 4)


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