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Movie Info

The artistic and political revolution of early 19th century Russia is mythologized in CHAGALL-MALEVICH, a magical period drama about the uneasy relationship between two artistic geniuses. Inspired by the memoirs of Marc Chagall and those of his contemporaries, the film blends fact and folklore to evoke the return of the iconic Jewish artist (portrayed by Leonid Bichevin "Cargo 200") to his childhood home of Vitebsk. Having left behind immense success in Paris, Chagall returns to the Russian empire in 1917 in hope to marry the love of his life Bella Rosenfeld (Kristina Schneidermann); he produces copious paintings and establishes the Academy of Modern Art. A rivalry develops with abstract painter Kazimir Malevich (Anatoliy Belyy), invited to teach at the art school. As Bella rekindles a childhood friendship with military Red Commissar Naum (Semyon Shkalikov), Chagall competes for the affections of his muse and future wife. As the October Revolution sweeps across Russia, historical events intrude on personal struggles and upend the quiet provincial life in Vitebsk. Brimming with surrealistic imagery from the paintings of Chagall and Malevich (over 140 paintings were used in the film), this sumptuous melodrama marks veteran Russian filmmaker Alexander Mitta's return after a decade-long hiatus. (C) ShiM-Film, LLC

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Leonid Bichevin
as Marc Chagall
Anatoliy Vaysman
as Kazimir Malevich
Anatoliy Belyy
as Kazimir Malevich
Semyon Shkalikov
as Red Commissar Naum
Kristina Schneidermann
as Bella Rosenfeld
Dmitriy Astrakhan
as Rabbi Itzike
Yakov Levda
as Lyova, His Son
Alexey Ovsyannikov
as Zheleznyak, Naum's Colleague
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Critic Reviews for Chagall-Malevich

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (5)

  • Although the results could never be accused of being uneventful, the characters cry out for deeper, more complex dimensions than simply the wide-eyed dreamer and the rhetoric-spewing agitator on display here.

    Jun 18, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Bichevin is the anchor for all of the director's flights of invention. When his Chagall says that life can be wondrous no matter how dire things get, you believe him.

    Jun 15, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It's a literally colorful and playful attempt to portray battlefields of artistic ambition and political struggle. But its dialogue and characters are also written as subtly as a radical manifesto.

    Jun 11, 2015 | Full Review…
  • An ambitious jumble of competing story lines that never gels into a cohesive portrait.

    Jun 10, 2015 | Full Review…
  • To call results over-the-top is less a criticism than a statement of intent. While it may be old-fashioned and silly in many respects, Mitta's film is not dull, and its heedless embrace of cliche has a retro charm.

    Jun 8, 2015 | Full Review…

    Dennis Harvey

    Top Critic
  • Mitta struggles to marry the film's melodramatic storytelling with its appreciation for dark and dreary history.

    Jun 17, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

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