The Thirteen

Director: Mikhail Romm

USSR, Action film, western, 1936, 90 min

Red Army commander Ivan Zhuravlev accompanies ten discharged soldiers on their way to the city. In the desert of Karakum, they find brand new weapons, belonging to Shirmat Khan and his anti-Bolshevik insurgents the Basmati, hidden near an ancient tomb. Zhuravlev gives order to wait for Shirmat Khan and fight him until regular Red Army force arrive. “The Thirteen” is one of the most remarkable Civil War thrillers in the Soviet cinema.

About the director:
The film director, scriptwriter and educator Mikhail Romm was born in 1901 in Irkutsk. From 1918–1921, he served in the Red Army during the Russian civil war. In 1925 he graduated as a sculptor from the Highest Artistic- Technical Institute and worked as a sculptor. In 1928–1930 he conducted research on the theory of cinema in the Institute for the Methods of Extra-scholastic Work (Institut metodov vneshkol'noy raboty). Since 1931, he worked at Mosfilm. Romm made his debut as a director with “Pyshka” (Пышка, 1934), a film adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s short as the last silent film of Soviet cinema. After directing his second film, “The Thirteen” (Тринадцать, 1936), Romm was commissioned by Stalin to produce a propaganda documentary marking the twentieth anniversary of the October Revolution. He turned out a film called “Lenin in 1918” (Ленин в 1918 году, 1939). In 1940–1943 he was an artistic leader for Mosfilm films production. In 1942–1947 he was the director of a theatre studio for movie actors. From 1938 he was a lecturer, and from 1948 he was the leader of the acting department of the VGIK. He influenced many prominent Soviet directors, including Andrei Tarkovsky, Grigori Chukhrai, Vasily Shukshin, Nikita Mikhalkov, Georgi Daneliya, Tengiz Abuladze and many others.
Section: Red Westerns

Screenplay: Iosif Prut, Mikhail Romm

Dir. of Photography: Boris Volchek

Music: Anatoly Aleksandrov

Cast: Ivan Novoselitsev, Elena Kuzimina, Aleksandr Chistyakov, Andrei Fait