Daddy (Papa)
One of Russia"s leading actors, Vladimir Mashkov ("The Thief"), hones his talents as a director in "Papa", an emotional Jewish-themed drama set in the prewar and wartime era, for which he combines work behind the camera with a screen reprisal of a leading role which he has played for almost a decade on Moscow stages. The result is lavish, accurate in its historical details, and looks like part of a continuing attempt to forge a new Russian mainstream cinema.

The original title of Sailors’ Rest is Matrosskaia Tishina — the name of a Moscow detention prison. In Russian, the name is also is a colloqial term describing the refusal of prison authorities to provide inmates with medical treatment. Aleksandr Galich, is best known as a poet and songwriter. In 1958, the premiere of his first play, Matrosskaia Tishina, was scheduled to open a new Moscow theatrical studio (which later became the famous Sovremennik Theatre Company). But the play was banned after its dress rehearsal, because the officials in charge of the country’s culture at the time declared that the hero of a Soviet play could not be a Jew — despite the fact that the play portrayed a man whose fate was shared by many Russian citizens, and that it reflected events in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Matrosskaia Tishina was virtually forgotten until 1993, when it was staged by the Tabakov Theatre. The company’s founder, Oleg Tabakov, was one of the actors who was to perform in the banned 1958 premiere. Aleksandr Galich was banished from the Soviet Union in 1974 and died in exile.

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