BY THE LAW (PO ZAKONU), Lev Kuleshov's legendary “constructivist western”, was one of the most popular films of its time and is now considered a masterpiece of Soviet Cinema. Adapted in 1926 from the Jack London story, The UnexpectedBY THE LAW tells the story of a group of prospectors in the Yukon who, after a gold strike and two murders, find themselves faced with an existential crisis, in the midst of horrific ice and darkness. Aleksandra Khokhlova, the main collaborator and partner of the director, portrays Edith, the unusual female lead.

BY THE LAW is an absolute masterpiece, the greatness of which stems from its very minimalism. One can label BY THE LAW a formalist action film, a Western psychodrama or an experimental study in bigotry. There is as much of the silent Westerns of John Ford as there is of Erich von Stroheim’s GREED and Charles Chaplin’s THE GOLD RUSH in BY THE LAW.”

— 2011 International Film Festival Rotterdam

The Österreichisches Filmmuseum (Austrian Film Museum), in Vienna, holds an extraordinarily beautiful print of Lev Kuleshov's 1926 masterpiece, BY THE LAW, which they preserved in 2009. Franz Reisecker, a central figure of Austria’s crossover-music scene, was commissioned to write a new score and chose to interpret the filmmaker’s highly refined aesthetic with both analog and digital means. Reisecker’s musical dialogue with Kuleshov has been recorded for this DVD, and was presented as a “Live Cinema” event at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam. In addition to BY THE LAW, the DVD also contains the only surviving fragment of Kuleshov's VASA ZNAKOMAJA (YOUR ACQUAINTANCE), a 1927 film with production design by Aleksandr Rodchenko, (one of the founders of Constructivism), and once again starring Aleksandra Khokhlova.

Aleksandra Khokhlova in  BY THE LAW  (1926)

Aleksandra Khokhlova in BY THE LAW (1926)



Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0
(No Regional Code)


(USSR, 1926)

Director: Lev Kulešov
Scenario: Viktor Shklovsky & Lev Kuleshov, adapted from the story “The Unexpected” by Jack London
Cinematographer: Konstantin Kuznetsov
Cast: Aleksandra Khokhlova, Sergei Komarov, Vladimir Fogel, Pyotr Galadzev & Porfiri Podobed

• 78 minutes
• 18 fps
• B&W


Bonus Material

(USSR, 1927)

Director: Lev Kuleshov 

• 18 minutes [Fragment]
• 18 fps
• B&W


Total Running Time: 01:36:03

Language: Russian intertitles, English, German & French subtitles

Musical Score: Franz Reisecker

Booklet Text: Barbara Wurm, Franz Reisecker & Michael Lobenstein (Bilingual German & English)

Published By: Edition Filmmuseum

Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping).

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