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The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks

(Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov)
USSR 1924. Dir: Lev Kuleshov. 94 min. DCP

Pioneering film theorist Lev Kuleshov lampoons Western stereotypes of Soviet life in this fresh, frenetic satirical comedy, inspired by American slapstick cinema. The madcap plot has Mr. West, a gullible American executive, and Jed, his cowboy bodyguard, visiting Moscow. The two expect to find a land of brutes and bandits; they quickly fall prey to a criminal gang of con artists quite happy to exploit those prejudices. After several misadventures, the visitors discover the “real” USSR. Kuleshov — whose famed “Kuleshov Effect” advanced the then-radical idea that meaning in cinema is created through montage, the juxtaposition of images — was a mentor to Eisenstein, Pudovkin, and other Soviet greats. This intelligent, gag-filled farce, the first feature from his seminal Kuleshov Workshop, was a hit at home in its day and has proved a lasting classic of silent comedy.