Aleksei Peshkov AKA Maxim Gorky (Aleksei Lyarsky)

This is the second film in the Gorky trilogy and it picks up with the young Gorky living with another family as an apprentice. Gorky is still a keen observer like in the first film, but this time around he also takes an active role in his education. Most notably, in Russian literature.

He discovers quickly that the only thing as feared as a revolutionary in Czarist Russia is a “reader”.

My Favorite Line

He lives with a family, gets a job on a boat, another job painting saints, and visits his real family and others during the course of the film. The title of this film is accurate except that his apprenticeship isn’t really with the family he starts with, but with the Russian people–each one he meets and shares Russian literature with. Gorky is made out as a model modern Russian, but even though the film is more heavy-handed than the first, it’s not propaganda ridden like you might expect moving closer to the darkest days of Stalinist rule.

Sharing Literature With A Chef

At the end, we say goodbye to Grandma for good as Gorky moves to adulthood in the third film. Unfortunately, I have no way of seeing the third film in the trilogy. Even this film came to me via a VHS rip from the New York Film Annex that had been posted on YouTube and then downloaded from there to my computer. It’s not as good as the first film and I wouldn’t suggest seeing this one without seeing that film, but if you have seen it then this one is worth a look.

An aside, there were several intertitles like in the first film, but they were not subtitled and they were written in the Cyrillic alphabet. I have posted them below, so if you know what they say then feel free to comment. Also, if you know of a source for the third film called My Universities then please share.

Thanks to Minoccio’s translations I know what the intertitles say. I have included her translations below.

Intertitle #1

And if eventually I will lay in the ground disfigured, I will be proud to say that for the past fourty years kind people have been trying hard to distort my soul, and their obstinate work hasn’t been too successful.

Intertitle #2

The house was befogged with torporific melancholy.

Intertitle #3

There was a holiday (celebration).

Intertitle #4

And he left.

Intertitle #5

Alexey Peshkov became a dishwasher on a “Dobry” steamboat.

Intertitle #6

Cook Smury has become Alexey’s best friend on the ship.

Intertitle #7

In the icon workshop Alexey learned the craft.

Intertitle #8

At night.

Intertitle #9

Alexey returned to the place where he had spent his childhood.

Intertitle #10

To life… to life so that we can dissolve everything good and human that we have in our hearts and our brains in it.

Intertitle #11

The end of the second part of the trilogy.