Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: Eastern Frontage

When the Eastern Bloc takes on the exotic Near East... well, this is what happens, and frankly it's not pretty.  It's "I Will Wait for You," the big harem number from a 1968 TajikFilms picture called The White Grand Piano, which is, from what I can glean, the story of a Moscow lady musicologist's search for a mysterious white piano in scenic Dushanbe.

How this fits into that is anybody's guess.  Filmed at a cost of what must have been dozens of rubles for the costumes alone (and apparently during the Great Soviet Tulle Shortage of '68, given the miserly amount allotted to each dancer), it is if nothing else an object lesson in why one shouldn't wear black pumps with swimwear.  The singer is one Miss Aida Vedishcheva, who fares only slightly better than the rest of the troupe, costumewise, but is otherwise game, although not terribly convincing as an Oriental Temptress.  The whole thing seems to be having an oddly dyspeptic effect on the spectators at 1:50, perhaps a result of the oppressive stolidity of the oddless sleeveless band combined with the visible ennui of the dancers.

If you haven't had enough of this little glimpse into an alternate universe, you might want to check out the same picture's "Song of Dushanbe," Miss Vedishcheva's scenic hommage to the splendors of the Tajik capital, featuring a surprising number of goats and some of the world's most depressing shop windows. 


  1. OK! I'm sold! I'm booking my ticket to Dushanbe to experience for myself the goose-pimpled dancers and the shrubbery covered in concrete dust. I hope to rub elbows with Peter Sellers's ugly uncle and sniff kebabs by the side of a provincial airport! I'd bring back a souvenir, but I fear the shops only have twelve tins of goat meat for sale in the entire shopping experience. At least I might be able to supply the tulle-starved locals with some Western synthetic curtain material.... Jx

  2. Here's a tip: mute the soundtrack and replace it with "Walk Like an Egyptian." If you're as lucky with the time as I was, you'll hit Miss Aida Vedishcheva's big closeup with the line "All the kids say Way-oh, way-oh." Magic.

  3. Misread your title as Eastern Frottage.

    I'm fairly certain that I would have enjoyed that video a bit more.

    1. While I can't disgree, caro, you know this isn't that sort of place. You want filth, head on over to MJ's...