Andrei Smirnov is not exactly a household name in America, nor for that matter in Russia, where only one of his films (the immensely popular and often-revived Byelorussian Railway Station) was ever released as made. Ten years ago he gave up making films. As became clear in a retrospective of his work at the 1988 Montreal film festival—part of the amazing worldwide glasnost release of a veritable cornucopia of great Soviet cinema never shown but thankfully archived and recently restored—Smirnov was a major figure in the Soviet “”new wave,” which, if but seen at the time, might have influenced the course of cinema history. Yet, strangely enough, the discovery of that new wave seems more opportune now than it might have been then. For, at a time when most movies seem to retread the recent past, the Soviet experiment of the late 60s-early 70s goes to a source as yet untapped—the immensely vital postrevolutionary Russian silent era, when image and thought were inseparable, and the shock of immediacy unavoidable. Autumn (1974) seems an odd choice for an American Smirnov premiere. Two lovers (who through misunderstanding didn’t marry when they should have) find themselves—a divorce and a marriage later—sharing some vacation time together in the countryside, where their lives and their values come into increasingly sharp focus. A low-key, reflective film, Autumn displays little of the mad exuberance, sweeping historicity, and cut-loose pyrotechnics that seem to characterize Soviet films of the period. Yet perhaps more than any other Smirnov film, Autumn does provide the link between that new wave and current Soviet cinema, since it is in the intimate “”little” film, full of mute gestures, words unspoken, and thoughts unmitigated—and quite untouched by the recent worldwide wave of epic revisionism—that the enduring values of Soviet silent cinema have best survived.