Alexey Shaburov's Project


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Krasnogorsk State Archives

Krasnogorsk State Archives is one of the world’s largest deposits of documentary films and photographs. Only here you may find the photos of Crimean War heroes and see them building the fortress to defend Port Arthur. Krasnogorsk archive materials were used by Michail Romm to shoot his “Common fascism”, and when Sergey Bondarchuk was making the “They fought for their motherland” movie he also used these materials.

Good old film driving mechanism. The photo-video archive is similar to this mechanism. Here double-shifts the Annushka: the old film-renovating machine. Now it is loaded with the film Soviet Turkmenia. Annushka washes the film of the 50s with soap, then eliminates the scratches with the finishing mould, blows off the drops with the drop-blower and then dries the film in a thermal cabinet. As a result we have clean film.

The whole history of the country is kept on video and photo, and there is hardly any room on nine floors of the Archives. You can find unique materials even in the corridors: there is Marshall Zhukov riding an elephant, common miner Sergey Ogurtsov and Sergey Eisenstein in a fashionable suit during a movie shoot.

There are 240,000 boxes with cellulose triacetate film, 50,000 boxes with nitro-films and millions of photos. It is a super-task is to keep these treasures forever. In the archives there is a film which has been kept for 110 years. This is the most ancient cinema document: the coronation of Nicholas II. On this old film shot by the French Kamill Serf one may see the royal carriage moving along the streets of Moscow. The room full with noise and the crick-crack of working machines is called the reading room. That is perhaps because movie directors leave bookmarks in the films. Some are interested in the captured weapon exhibition of 1943 in Gorky Park and others enjoy the ballet of Maris Leipa and Natalia Bessmertnova. But among the regular visitors of the archives there are not only authors and directors of documental films. Many come here to find relatives or themselves in the black-and-white past.

“It sometimes happens that a person watches himself young on the screen and nearly faints, because now he is old. Can you imagine? You at 70 years old and see yourself when you are 20” asks the chief specialist of the data support department Natalia Akulina.
According to an old tradition at 11am all of the archive workers leave their work places. At this time all of the workers drink their half-liter of milk. They receive milk for their harmful work with films and mold.

Though everything here is shabby and very old, it is still clean everywhere. The head of the archives Nina Mayorova keeps an orderly house. Her working experience is fantastic, she has been working here for 45 years! “The air temperature in the archives is never over 10 centigrade and that is why we always keep fresh here” jokes Nina. “Wake me up in the middle of the night and I will be able to tell you about any film” says Mrs. Mayorova. She has seen almost all the movies and was even above the soviet censorship, as she was able to see the movies full and untouched. “We could see the movies, but it was prohibited to publish it” explains Nina Mayorova.

Every five years all the films should be examined for safety. If there are any changes in the texture we send it for restoration by our Annushka machine. The editing tables which are more than 15 years old still function, but they are too shabby. The archive workers work for the sake of God, as their salary is only 2,500 rubles. “Without the archives there is no history. Without history there is no a state, no future, you see? We wish to work with dignity for a fair salary” says Ludmila Zapryagaeva, Director of the Russian state archives of cinema documents. These are the only wishes of the director of cinema archives on their anniversary.

143400, Moscow region, Krasnogorsk, Rechnaya Str., 1
Telephone: +7 495 562 14 64, 563 08 45, 563 14 63