On March 8, Metropolis Kino cinema (Hamburg, Germany) will screen Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s silent film Diplomatic Courier’s Bag (1927), which is part of the KOLO DZIGI series of cinematic performances. The restored by Dovzhenko Centre version of this spy thriller will be shown within the II Hamburg Silent Film Festival to the accompaniment of Ukrainian electro-acoustic duo Zapaska.


Diplomatic Courier’s Bag, Dovzhenko’s first feature-length film that survived until these days, came out in 1927 and signified that the director, then still a beginner, had achieved a new level of cinematic mastery. The film about a theft of a Soviet diplomatic courier’s bag by British spies is based on a true fact – an armed attack on Soviet diplomatic couriers Theodor Nette and Johann Mahmastal on February 26, 1926. Dovzhenko was asked to direct the film because of his understanding of the diplomatic environment, which he came in contact with in 1923, working in Berlin in the diplomatic service. However, the film demonstrates understanding of a few more things – the German cinematic school in general and the cloak-and-dagger mystery genre in particular. Diplomatic Courier’s Bag is quite representative as to the clichés of the 1920-s cinematography – the film is replete with characteristic fight scenes (on the deck, on the stairs, in a cabin) and types (spies, courtesans, police agents, etc.). This movie has the only Dovzhenko’s cameo appearance in his lifetime – as the coal-heaver.


The new modern soundtrack for the Bag was written in 2014 the Zapaska band – an electro-acoustic indie pop duo from Kamianets-Podilskyi. Founded as a side project of Yana Shpachynska from the CheChe band and Pavlo Nechytailo from the Lost Letter group, in four years Zapaska grew into a full-blooded musical project that actively travels with concerts around Ukraine and is fairly well known abroad.


The musical cinematic performance Diplomatic Courier’s Bag feat Zapaska was premiered on April 8, 2014, at the opening of the IV International Knyzhkovyi Arsenal Book Festival, and became another achievement in the series of musical cinematic performances KOLO DZIGI, initiated by Dovzhenko Centre and featuring screenings of restored Ukrainian silent films accompanied by contemporary music.  

Screening of the silent film Diplomatic Courier’s Bag feat. Zapaska in the Metropolis Kino cinema (10 Kleine Theaterstraße, 20354 Hamburg) is scheduled for May 8, 2016, as part of the Ukrainian Cinema Days in Hamburg now running in Germany with support of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Embassy in Germany, the Ukrainian General Consulate in Hamburg, Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre, the Ukrainian Film State Agency and Big Hands Film.


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