Soviet filmmaker Gleb Panfilov has never shirked from expressing his own views on film, no matter who's calling the shots in the Politburo. Originally titled Tema, it tells the story of a young man who has allowed himself to be victimized by The System. The protagonist thinks of himself as an artist, but his inner weakness prohibits him from rising above the conformist mediocrity expected of him. Motivating the story's denouement is a female character, a carry-over from Panfilov recently completed trilogy of films in which a woman was center of attention. Available only in a radically censored version for many years, Theme was not given a general release in its uncut form until 1986, seven years after its completion. It won several festival awards, including Berlin's Golden Bear.
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