Under the Radar DVD of the Week: 'The Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom'
This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:
“The Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom”
Russian silent films usually bring to mind grand, ambitious war classics such as Sergei Eisenstein’s “Battleship Potemkin,” But early Russian cinema also had its modest, whimsical and sentimental side which shows itself in director Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky’s charming romantic comedy “The Cigarette Girl of Mosselprom,” due out on DVD Tuesday.
This 1924 romantic roundelay, which could easily have sprung from the fertile imaginations of such early sentimentalists as Chaplin or Keaton, reunites actors Yuliya Solntseva and Igor Ilyinsky, the stars of Zhelyabuzhsky’s “Aelita: Queen of Mars,” generally thought of as the first Soviet science fiction film.
In “Mosselprom,” Ilyinsky plays Nikodim, a Moscow book assistant who develops a mad crush on Solntseva’s Zina, a poor girl who sells cigarettes on the sidewalks. Nikodim frequently buys cigarettes from Zina even though he doesn’t smoke.
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