The Village Detective: a song cycle

  • 81'
  • USA
  • 2021

During the summer of 2016, a fishing boat near the shores of Iceland made a most curious catch: four reels of 35mm film, seemingly of Soviet provenance. Excitement about what this could be quickly faded, though. As it turned out, this wasn’t a lost work of maybe even major importance, but merely an incomplete print of a well-loved (and perfectly preserved) popular comedy called Derevenskij detektiv (1969, Ivan Lukinskij), which translates as The Village Detective.

So just fit for the trash, as this has zero archival or commercial value? Bill Morrison thought otherwise. For him, this heavily water-damaged mess full of holes, and the way it surfaced, could be seen as a fitting reflection on the life of Mihail Žarov, the star of Derevenskij detektiv, who loved this role so much that he even co-directed a sequel to it. This is how Morrison’s journey into Soviet history, film and beyond started.

Director
Bill Morrison
Country of production
USA
Production Year
2021
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
81'
Medium
DCP
Languages
English, Russian, Icelandic
Producer
Bill Morrison
Sales
Bill Morrison
Screenplay
Bill Morrison
Editor
Bill Morrison
Production Design
Bill Morrison
Sound Design
John Somers
Music
David Lang
Website
https://billmorrisonfilm.com/