Seventy-year-old Van regretted his disdain when Victor Vitry, a brilliant French director, based a completely unauthorized picture on Letters from Terra written by 'Voltemand' half a century before. (5.5)
Victor Vitry seems to be the Antiterran version of Sasha Gitry (1885-1957), a French actor, director and playwright. In his review Posledniy smotr (The Final Inspection, 1916) Maximilian Voloshin compares Gitry to Molière and describes his last film showing the great contemporary French artists (Anatole France, Rostand, Rodin, Degas, Sarah Bernhardt et al.) in their intimate milieu and at work:
Саша Гитри - один из самых увлекательных парижских забавников. Антуан ожидает от него возрождения французского театра. Если б его темперамент и ловкость можно было сплавить с едкостью Куртелина, то Париж увидел бы нового Мольера.
Несмотря на войну, С. Гитри продолжает забавлять Париж, искусно лавируя между национальным трауром и неискоренимой радостью жизни.
Этот "conference" назывался "Ceux de chez nous".
Он объехал с кинематографом великих людей французского искусства и снял их в интимной обстановке и за работой.
Vitreous means "of the nature of or resembling glass." While Roman V (Vitry's initial) looks like mirrorred Λ (Russian counterpart of Roman L), Roman L looks like mirrorred Г (Russian counterpart of Roman G, Gitry's initial). Young Van's penname, Voltemand hints at the courtier in Hamlet, but also brings to mind young Van's stage name, Mascodagama. As Mascodagama (a play on Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese navigator), Van dances on his hands (1.30). Volte-face means "a turnabout, esp. a reversal of opinion or policy."
Victor ("conqueror, winner") is Hugo's first name. Hugo is the author of Notre Dame de Paris (1831) and L'Homme qui rit (The Laughing Man, 1869). Roman H (Hugo's initial that resembles the facade of Notre Dame) looks like Russian counterpart of Roman N, Nabokov's initial. VN's one-time penname, Ridebis Semper, is an allusion to Ursus's words in The Laughing Man"masca eris, et ridebis semper" ("you will be a mask and you will be laughing forever").
Cf. Van's face, shining with sweat, grinned between the legs of the boots that still shod his rigidly raised arms. Simultaneously his real feet kicked off and away the false head with its crumpled cap and bearded mask. The magical reversal 'made the house gasp.' Frantic ('deafening,' 'delirious,' 'a veritable tempest of') applause followed the gasp. He bounded offstage - and next moment was back, now sheathed in black tights, dancing a jig on his hands. (1.30) 
Alexey Sklyarenko
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