Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Margy Kinmonth, Revolution – New Art for a New World is a bold and exciting feature documentary that encapsulates a momentous period in the history of Russia and the Russian Avant-Garde.
Drawing on the collections of major Russian institutions, contributions from contemporary artists, curators, and performers and personal testimony from the descendants of those involved, the film brings the artists of the Russian Avant-Garde to life. It tells the stories of artists like Chagall, Kandinsky, Malevich and others – pioneers who flourished in response to the Utopian challenge of building a New Art for a New World, only to be broken by implacable authority after 15 short years.
Stalin’s rise to power marked the close of this momentous period, consigning the Avant Garde to obscurity. Yet the Russian Avant-Garde continues to exert a lasting influence over art movements up to the present day. Revolution – New Art for a New World confirms this, exploring the fascination that these colourful paintings, inventive sculptures and propaganda posters retain over the modern consciousness 100 years on.
Revolution – New Art for a New World was filmed entirely on location in Moscow, St. Petersburg and London, with access to The State Tretyakov Gallery, The State Russian Museum, The State Hermitage Museum and in co-operation with The Royal Academy of Arts, London. The film features paintings previously banned and unseen for decades, and masterpieces, which rarely leave Russia. Contributors include Museum Directors Professor Mikhail Piotrovsky and Zelfira Tregulova and film director Andrei Konchalovsky. The film also features Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Hollander, James Fleet, Eleanor Tomlinson and Daisy Bevan.
CEO of Arts Alliance Nick Varley says: “Following the huge success of Foxtrot’s previous film Hermitage Revealed we are pleased to be working with Margy Kinmonth and Maureen Murray once again. As the public appetite for arts films in cinemas and beyond continues to grow, Arts Alliance is pleased to be leading the way as we continue to find new ways of engaging with this audience.”
Founder of the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation Alisher Usmanov says: “The beginning of the 20th century is one of the most exciting periods in the development of Russian and world art. The film Revolution – New Art for a New World allows viewers to immerse themselves in this controversial time for a fresh look at the ideas and works of art of the avant-garde, whose courage amazes after 100 years.”
Director Margy Kinmonth says: “I was inspired, as an artist, to discover how many of the descendants of Russian Avant-Garde artists are themselves working as artists today. Access to their intensely moving stories brings to life this extraordinary period of artistic innovation, which continues to exert such a powerful legacy a hundred years on.”
THE GUARDIAN – 3 stars ***
At last, the story of Russia’s Revolutionary artists, suppressed for a century
Ravishing and revolutionary; this extraordinary film shows us where Modern Art really started
This amazing art needs to be seen on the largest screen possible for the maximum impact
By combining a real revolution in art and a real political revolution, this film makes the current contemporary art debate look like an Islington dinner party.
Russia’s secret revolutionary art, revealed after a century
an excellent and concise appreciation of a major schism in the history of Modern Art
an inspirational film that underwrites the importance of the visual arts in all revolutionary movements – AND the inevitable conflict between creative thought and the demagogues.
stunning research and archive footage conjures Revolutionary Russia and the courage of artists in the avant-garde
excellent overall, nifty camera effects, impressive b/g research
enjoyed it – cant wait to see final cut
MIKE VON JOEL – STATE MAGAZINE
The level of access given to the filmmakers was a great achievement- some real insight into the lives and work of artists who had their history erased by a dictator. In particular, the newly rediscovered works of Filonov that are referenced in the documentary were astonishing.
… the actors do an amazing job bringing the titans of Russian avant garde to life- in particular Tom Hollander, who lends a noble gravitas to the readings of Malevich.
WILLIAM WEBB – SCREEN RELISH – 4 Stars ****
really enjoyed the film
KATIA NIKITINA – RUSSIAN GAP
a fascinating excursion into the world of Russian avant-garde
ESME WESTWOOD – THE UPCOMING 3 Stars ***
I can briefly say that I really enjoyed Revolution – here’s a quick review.
Revolution, a new documentary provides an incisive and timely reminder yet again that art and the artists are often at the forefront of social and political change. No more so than after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Margy Kinmonth has gone much further than just making a film that goes beyond the myth to look at the people and paintings behind the new form of avant-garde art that Lenin wanted to promote that would express and communicate the ideology of communism visually, and in full, public view.
By talking to experts, including Milhail Pitorovsky, one of the great museum directors, and the the children and grand-children of many of the Russian Avant-Garde movements finest protagonists, Konchalovsky, Rodchenko, Lentulov and more, Kinmonth shows us that they, just as much as Lenin are the real communicators of the Communist Party’s message. Her dedication to finding the real story behind these artists leads her to discover a number of works hidden away in museums after Stalin’s rose to power saw a purge and the same artists who were heroes now regarded as an enemy of the state, their works disrespected and discarded, and they left to flee or die.
Yet, ultimately, Revolution leaves us, 100 years on from the Russian Revolution with art and an art form that has survived, and, through one piece that continues to cause debate, Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, one is left with a thought that the new and uncertain world represented in this one piece of art is still just as fluid and volatile a century later. After all, that piece survives, long after Communism died in Russia. Black Square also reminds us that events in this corner of Europe have shown, we are today most definitely living in a “Black Square” period of history again.
Revolution shows that artists are the real communicators, their work is solid, of substance long after the words of orators and politicians have melted into the snows of history…
I give it 5 stars…
JOHN FLANNERY – ART SPEAK, REEL REBELS RADIO
We really enjoyed the film!
Being Russian myself I have learned a lot about the time and the art scene during revolution.
My guest was English and he was very impressed by the history and the cruelty of the times.
ANNA KORJAKINA – RUTAGE MAGAZINE
Completely loved the film and also learnt so much while enjoying the story of the art revolution
MARY-LU BAKKER – NOTTING HILL POST
Revolution: New Art For a New World spoke to me as both an art lover and someone who works extensively in film archive
THE CRITICAL MOVIE CRITICS
Fans of 2002’s classic Russian Ark won’t want to miss this fascinating doc on 20th-century Russian avant-garde art. Featuring the voices of Matthew Macfadyen and Tom Hollander, it looks at the artists who flourished in the wake of the revolution before Stalin, who detested this arty business, packed many of these “enemies of the state” off to the gulag. Eye-opening stuff, in every sense.
ALI CATTERALL – TOTAL FILM 4 stars ****
BBC UK TV Premiere Broadcast – 6 November 2017
Critic’s choice: Pick of the Day
Margy Kinmonth’s excellent documentary has access to paintings previously banned or unseen for decades
an insightful documentary
THE I (7 November, 2017
Viewing Guide: Top Pick
a visual feast of a documentary
the avant-garde paintings and Soviet posters are splashed gloriously across the screen
the stories of each artist are fascinating
Kinmonth gets extraordinary access to closed collections
THE TIMES (4 November, 2017)
**** 4 Stars
it places its panache on camerawork and directorial flourishes
a visual delight
vivid lesson in how art will outlive even the worst of politics
THE TIMES (7 November, 2017)
Margy Kinmonth’s intriguing film explores how early 20th century Russian avant-garde art intersected with revolutionary politics
Worth hanging on until the very end for a fascinating final roll call of artists and their very varied paths
THE SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE
Watch This: Revolution New Art for a New World, 9pm, BBC4
This vivid feature length doc takes a deep dive in the avant-garde Russian art scene
Pick of the Day for Monday 6 November
THE GUARDIAN GUIDE
What to Watch: Arts
The Russian Revolution has received excellent coverage on the BBC in its anniversary year
Matthew Macfadyen and Tom Hollander bring their words to life
THE TELEGRAPH (4 November, 2017)
THE TELEGRAPH (4 November, 2017)
The very best of the week ahead
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
**** 4 Stars
THE DAILY MAIL
the documentary benefits not only from being filmed, beautifully, in Russia, but also by being told in Russian voices
the first [half] is a joyous catalogue of the avant-garde and modernist works that defined a new nation…the latter stages detail how Russia’s best artists were corrupted marginalised or just eliminated by Stalin
[the artists] receive crisply sketched miniature bios as their colourful vital work romps across the screen
You ought to try to see Margy Kinmonth’s Revolution: New Art for a New World – a documentary about art that so deftly and skilfully combines those famous old Reithian values to such magnificent effect
we might think we know what good television looks like until we see Kinmonth’s innovative and stunning use of familiar Moscow scenes, not to mention the way she educates the viewer without condescension about the philosophy and history of paintings and sculptures we know little about
Kinmonth weaves together together the complex narrative of art in the Russian society
Kinmonth laces together both the physical artworks and cerebral philosophies of their creators to compile a thoroughly immersive analysis
Kinmonth uncovers a trove of artwork unbeknownst to the Western art world
Kinmonth clearly articulates the major movements of the time
Kinmonth has created a film that peels back the layers of art and politics to allow a totally immersive experience of the experimental, creative, and destructive chaos that was the avant-garde
SAVAGE, UCL MAGAZINE
directed by acclaimed filmmaker Margy Kinmonth…a bold and exciting feature-length documentary
THE EVENING STANDARD
… it is an extraordinary moment in history and you secured amazing access. The archive, family testimony and the art itself (much of it pretty unfamiliar) was riveting to see. Thanks so much for the film.
MARK BELL, Commissioning Editor, BBC Arts
… absolutely terrific. So many paintings which never see the light of day. So many tragic lives lost or spent in the gulags. Unbelievable. Riveting stuff.
JANE HEWERTSON, BBC4, Arts and Music
FILMUFORIA – 4 STARS ****
VULTURE HOUND – 4 STARS ****
Shepherd Express – Now Streaming
Online News Pieces
iWeekend/iNews – Eleanor Tomlinson Feature
Film News – 4 Stars **** – Paul Chapinal
The Arts Desk – 3 Stars *** – Sarah Kent
Socialist Review – Rebecca Townesend
Double Negative – Mike Pinnington
A Scunner Darkly – Kevin Sturton
Critics Associated – 3 Stars **** – Sara Galvão
Backseat Mafia – Rob Aldam