The Suicide of a Projectionist

Source: D.L., ‘Samoubiistvo mekhanika’ [The Suicide of a Projectionist], Cine-Phono, 1910/11, no. 5, p. 11, quoted in Yuri Tsivian, Early Cinema in Russia and its Cultural Reception (Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 1998), p. 110

Text: On 15 November, after the end of a performance in the Kirsanov Theatre of Illusions, the projectionist, N. Melioransky, tried to poison himself. His only pleasure in life was the knowledge that he was a useful member of the local community, which had always been delighted with his excellent work. But the very last night of the season turned into total disaster: one of the pictures, Cupid’s Darts [Strely amura] was so badly worn that it kept on breaking off inside the projector, each break being greeted by the audience with loud laughter and rude remarks. Not understanding the real reason for the breakdowns, they turned on their former hero and made him the butt of their derision. The proud youth was overcome with shame and went off to poison himself. Luckily his life was saved.

Comment: Tsivian notes that this incident was much discussed in the film press.

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