- Черное и белое
- Mezhrabpomfilm / Межрабпомфильм
- Ivan Ivanov-Vano and L. Amalrik
- English, Russian
Based on “Black and White,” a poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky.
Mayakovsky is often called the loudspeaker of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Yet he was also a most talented poet, whose works are widely quoted
even today. The animation in “Black and White” is based on his drawings.
In 1922, Mayakovsky received special permission to travel to America.
En route he stopped in Cuba where Americans controlled the sugar and
tobacco industries. “Black and White” tells the story of Willie, the shoe
shine boy, who makes the fatal mistake of asking the White Sugar King
Mister Bragg, “Why should white sugar be made by a black man?”
Only fragments of the film were found, without restorable sound. It was
decided to underscore the fragments with excerpts from “Sometimes I
feel like a Motherless Child,” recorded by Paul Robeson in 1949 at the
Tchaikovsky Theatre in Moscow. The son of an American slave,
Robeson was an athlete, actor, singer, cultural scholar, author, and
political activist. He spoke fluent Russian.
In 1952 Robeson was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. He translated the
Soviet national anthem into English.
Oleg Vidov( actor/producer):“The Soviet propaganda machine glorified
Robeson almost as an achievement of the International Revolution. But
for the Soviet people who attended his concerts or heard him on radio, he
was a good friend from America, the country which helped us to defeat
the Nazis. During a time of oppression and Stalin terror, here came this
good-spirited, free person from the United States. Unlike us, he could
travel freely and bring us songs in English. He also taught us to sing
‘Ole Man River’ in Russian.