Hybrid Documentary

Mosolov’s Suitcase

The life, art, and enduring significance of Russian avant-garde composer Alexander Mosolov inspire four stories (fictional, semi-fictional, and documentary) about creation and individualism in the face of state power. Kirill Emelyanov, nominated for a Best New Actor César in 2015, plays the mercurial Mosolov: musician, bad-boy dandy, and forgotten genius of Soviet music.

Moscow, 1930s. Young, dapper, and volatile composer Sasha Mosolov becomes the target of Communist Party oppression in the years leading up to the Great Purge. A chance encounter with an American Communist journalist visiting Moscow presents an unexpected opportunity.

Moscow, circa 2019. In the midst of personal and professional strife, Russian actor Kirill Emelyanov prepares to portray Sasha Mosolov in an upcoming film. Struggling to find an entry point into the mind of an enigmatic artist, Kirill takes a clarifying trip to a remote dacha. A meeting with an elderly relative, who himself was repressed in Soviet times, provides a breakthrough.

California, circa 2019. A European documentary filmmaker traces Mosolov’s infamous “stolen suitcase”, reported missing by the composer in a plot to smuggle his music to the West. The trail leads to Palm Springs and the descendants of a long-dead, black-listed Hollywood composer who traveled to Moscow in the 1930s.

Moscow, circa 2019. American director Matthew Mishory and German music curator Max Gutbrod convince 90-year-old Russian musicologist and subversive Inna Barsova to speak on camera for the first time. A survivor of the Communist era, Dr. Barsova managed, beginning in the 1970s, to preserve Alexander Mosolov’s story and music, the raw materials of which are still contained within her Soviet block apartment.

Written and directed by Matthew Mishory.

Mosolov’s Suitcase is a Max Gutbrod / Iconoclastic Features / Monolithic Films presentation.

Official website. // Production announcement. // IMDB.

View project
Next project