My Friend Ivan Lapshin
June 22, 2012
A nostalgic look back at Stalin’s Russia just before the Great Purge began in 1937, My Friend Ivan Lapshin remains Guerman’s best-known work internationally. Affectionately detailing a love triangle that develops in a small town between a police detective, his widowed friend and a local actress, the story is told from the point of view of a narrator (seen occasionally in the only color sequences in Guerman’s work) remembering what he witnessed as a boy. The wealth of peripheral incidents – a theatrical troupe visits the town, Lapshin investigates a band of black marketers – allows Guerman to indulge his taste for weaving together a number of narrative strands that threaten to crowd each other out of the frame. From time to time, the villagers express their pride in the revolution and their optimism – unaware of the grim future lurking just offscreen.