aka Seeds of Freedom
Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm
His Excellency was the first Soviet-Jewish film to be produced after a demand by the Central Committee's Department for Agitprop that fictional films be made "in a way that an be appreciated by millions."
In the tradition of brilliant Soviet directors Eisenstein and Pudovkin, His Excellency features stylized cinematography and stars Leonid Leonidov, a star of the Moscow Art Theater, and in a small part, Nikolai Cherkasov, who would later play the lead roles in Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible. With J. Untershlak and Tamara Edelheim as Hirsh and Rivele Lekert, and the Moscow Art Theater's Leonid Leonidov as both the Tsar's governor and the community's rabbi.
According to Director Roshel the subject matter of this film was so delicate that the Soviet Commissar of Enlightenment oversaw production of this film personally. The film is based on the life of Hirsch Lekert, a shoemaker and militant Jewish Labor Bund member, who attempted to assassinate the Vilna governor in 1902 to avenge the flogging of workers who participated in a May Day rally. Although the film was intended "as a tract against individualism,... a greater emphasis is placed on class stuggle within the Jewish community." Bourgeois Jewish Zionists find themselves pitted against fellow Jewish proletariats and the government.
Pacific Film Archive (1995)
Berlin Film Festival (1992)
NCJF Film Restoration
Preservation and restoration was made possible by Brandeis University,
American Film Institute, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts & National Endowment for the Humanities.
Director Grigori Roshal
Screenplay Sofya Roshal & Vera Stroeva
Photography Nikolai Koslovski
Editor Mark Donskoy
Leonid Leonidov (Governor/ Rabbi)
Mariya Sinelnikova (Miriam)
J. Untershlak (Hirsh)
Nikolai Cherkasov (Clown)
Tamara Edelheim (Rivile)
Mikhail Rostovtsev (Little Clown)
1991 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director Sharon Pucker Rivo
Associate Director Miriam Saul Krant
Technical Director Rich Pontius
Translation Robert Szulkin
Consultant Sylvia Fuks Fried
Title Production Loren S. Miller
Title Animation Frame Shop
Laboratory John E. Allen, Inc.
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