Vladimir Erofeev

Vladimir Erofeev was a pioneer of expedition cinema in the Soviet Union, advocating for increased attention and investment in edifying non-fiction films made to win the interest of broad audiences. In summer 1927, a trek to the mountainous Pamir region, known as the “Roof of the World,” in present-day Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, was organised by the Sovkino studio in co-operation with the Geological Committee. Erofeev worked with prominent geologist Dmitrii Nalivkin and ethnographer Mikhail Andreyev, who had both extensively researched the area and contributed to the planning for the crew’s journey. The film starts off in Moscow, the symbolic centre of the new empire, leading through Samara and Orenburg, to Tashkent and Osh, and further on to the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia. The film features the expedition’s progress through crossing mountain rivers, traversing snowy passes and descending into valleys in bloom, while at the same time recording the daily practices of the Krygz nomads, the religious customs of a Tajik village community, finally entering Dushanbe, observing the city life in the capital of Soviet Tajikistan. The final result demonstrates a portrait of a rich and vibrant region in which the interaction of various cultures have not yet fully streamlined to the requirements of the uniformed all-Soviet world.