Vladimir Kasyanov & The Futurist Circle

Excerpts Futurist Tango & Futuredance of Death from the soundtrack-film Drama v kabare futuristov No. 13, 1913-14, 3'30". MP3
Edited By [Soundtrack Re-creation] – Miguel Molina, Leopoldo Amigo
Voice – Ernest Peshkov
Collaboration – Maya Molina
Production Date – 2006

Vladimir Kasyanov (director), Larionov & Goncharova produced a short 20 minute film in which members of the futurist circle: Mayakovsky, the Burliuk brothers, Shershenevich and Levrenev, also participated. It was the first futurist film, and the first film in which the twentieth-century avant-garde directly participated. Only one still from it has survived but, fortunately, Kasyanov recorded the scenario in his memoirs. The film opened with a cabaret sequence in which the artists paint their faces in preparation for the evening's entertainment. A caption reads: "13 O'clock has struck. The futurists assemble for the evening". There follows a sequence that depicts futurist cabaret numbers in which the poet Anton Lotov declaims a poem - meaningless letters flash onto the screen - Elster dances "the futurist tango" and Goncharova performs a tap dance. These prepare the way for the evening's central event and the real "drama" of the film: "the future dance of death", in the course of which one partner must murder the other. The futurists draw lots; Larionov and Maksimovich are chosen to perform the dance, on a table. Both are given a curved knife and the "future-dance" begins. Larionov throws Maksimovich from one arm to the other and strikes her with the hilt of the knife, she in retaliation strikes him, and finally he kills her outright. In the final sequence of the film, Mayakovsky says, over the dead body: "a victim of futurism!". The "future-dance of death" may have been a parody of the tango, which was then becoming popular. Larionov refers to this in the manifesto Why We Paint Ourselves, though Ginzburg disputes this and Leyda describes the future-dance as a parody of the prevalent genre of film-guignol. Kasyanov, however, records that when the film was screened in Moscow in January 1914 the audience treated it as a comedy, and newspaper critics declared the acting feeble and the plot dull- though some were entertained by the futurist music that accompanied the film [commentaries of the book Mikhail Larionov and the Russian Avant-Garde by Anthony Parton].

Russian Futurists from the GLM Collection (1920-1959)
Sound Experiments in The Russian Avant-Garde (1908-1942)