Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sholokhov's "And Quiet Flows The Don" (Tikhiy Don) Reissued On DVD By The Russian Cinema Council

The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1965 was awarded to Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov "for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don [River], he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people".

"Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov (1905-1984) was born in the land of the Cossacks, now known as the Kamenskaya region of the R.S.F.S.R. He attended several high schools until 1918. During the civil war he fought on the side of the revolutionaries, and in 1922 he moved to Moscow to become a journalist. There he published a number of short stories in newspapers. He made his literary debut in 1926 with a volume of stories, Donskie rasskazy (Tales from the Don), 1926, about the Cossacks of his native region, to which he had returned two years earlier.

In the same year, 1926, Sholokhov began writing Tikhi Don (And Quiet Flows the Don), 1928-1940, which matured slowly and took him fourteen years to complete. Reminiscent of Tolstoy in its vividly realistic scenes, its stark character descriptions and, above all, its vast panorama of the revolutionary period, Sholokhov's epic became the most read work of Soviet fiction. Deeply interested in human destinies which are played against the background of the transformations and troubles in Russia, he unites in his work the artistic heritage of Tolstoy and Gogol with a new vision introduced into Russian literature by Maxim Gorky." ... [1965]

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

Source: http://nobelprize.org/literature/laureates/1965/index.html

Mikhael Sholokov died on February 21, 1984.


"And Quiet Flows The Don" (Tikhiy Don)

"A screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by Soviet writer Mikhail Sholokhov, a Nobel Prize winner. The film depicts the destinies of the Don Cossacks during the First World War and the Civil War in Russia. Cossack Grigory Melekhov lives in a village of Veshenskaya. He is in love with Aksynia, but on his father’s insistence, has to marry another girl. Finding out about his love affair with Aksynia, his young wife leaves home. Shortly before the war, Grigory and his beloved also leave the farm. While on the Austrian front, Grigory learns of the Czar’s abdication and of the end of the war. He is on his way home where Aksynia must be waiting for him."

Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 1958

Gorky Film Studio

Year of Release:

historical drama

Sergei Gerasimov

Music by:
Yuri Levitin

Duration: 330 minutes for film alone (5 and 1/2 hours -- or about the same as an evening at Wagner's "Parsifal")

[Most popular classic Russian film, in January 2006, based upon Internet sales by the Russian Cinema Council. See source below. (Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublyov is #5.)]



Please also consider the following three Soviet operas of the 1930s and 1940: Dzerzhinsky's "And Quiet Flows the Don", Shostakovich's "Lady MacBeth of Mtensk", and Prokofiev's "Semyon Kotko". [Stalin approved of the first, but not the second.]

The Great American bass Paul Robeson's renditions of songs from Dzerzhinsky's "And Quiet Flows the Don" ["From Border To Border" and "Oh, How Proud Our Quiet Don"] were reported to be highly popular with Russian and Ukrainian soldiers as they prepared to fight the Nazi invaders, after 1941.

Also see Richard Taruskin "A Martyred Opera [by Shostakovich] Reflects Its Abominable Time" New York Times, November 6, 1994:


DVD Cover to classic 1957 film version of Nobel laureate Sholokhov's "And Quiet Flows The Don" (Tikhiy Don); as released by the Russian Cinema Council in 2005.

Image Credit: Russian Cinema Council


RUSCICO (RUSSIAN CINEMA COUNCIL) is a commercial association of Russian and foreign companies, created for the purpose of realizing a complex program of restoring, remastering, replication and world distribution of a collection of the best Soviet and Russian feature, documentary and animated films, as well as of film versions of the best ballet, opera and theatre productions, in a DVD format.

RUSCICO's products are distinguished by a whole set of advantages. For each of the collection's films, a copyrighted DVD version has been created which includes an interactive menu (100-150 pages) in three languages (Russian, English, French), with elements of graphic design and animation, and recorded in a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound format.


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