Fragment of an Empire
About the Film
A soldier called Filimonov lost his memory due to shell shock during the Russian Civil War. In 1928 he sees a woman in a passing train, and suddenly remembers his own history. He decides to leave for his hometown, St. Petersburg, now renamed to Leningrad. He is confused by the rapid changes in modern Leningrad and gets a job at his old workplace, where he slowly realises what it means that peasants are now in charge of the factory. His co-workers find the new address of his wife and send him there. Filimonov is confronted by the fact that his wife is now married to a Soviet apparatchik who treats her badly. In the final scene, Filimonov breaks the fourth wall and declares to the audience that there is still a lot of work to be done.
About the Restoration
Based primarily on a 35mm print held at EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, this restoration of Fragment of an Empire is supplemented with a 35mm nitrate print from the Swiss Cinémathèque, which provided the original Russian intertitles for Acts 2–6 as well as a small number of shots missing from the primary source. Titles absent from the Swiss print have been reproduced based on Russian censor records and are identified with the notation “2018” in the lower right corner. A partnership between EYE Filmmuseum, Gosfilmofond of Russia, and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the restoration also received funding from Rick Andersen and John and Susan Sinnott. It would not have been possible without the perseverance and meticulous scholarship of archivist Peter Bagrov.
EYE Filmmuseum, Gosfilmofond