The first Russian movies appeared during the Russian Empire. In the Soviet Union and in the years following its dissolution, Russian movies continued to gain global acclaim. In the 21st century, Russian cinema has risen to worldwide fame with movies such as Hardcore Henry (2015), Leviathan (2014), Night Watch (2004) and Brother (1997). The Moscow International Film Festival started in Moscow in 1935. The Nika Award is the main annual national film award in Russia.
First Russian Movies
The first movies seen in the Russian Empire were made by the Lumière brothers, who showed movies in Moscow and St. Petersburg in May 1896. That same month, Lumière’s cameraman Camille Cerf made the first film in Russia, recording the coronation of Nicholas II in the Kremlin. Aleksandr Drankov created the first Russian narrative film Stenka Razin (1908), based on events told by director Vladimir Romashkov. Notable Russian filmmakers of the time included Aleksandr Khanzhonkov and also Ivan Mozzhukhin, who made The Defense of Sevastopol in 1912. Yakov Protazanov made Departure of a Grand Old Man (1912), a biopic of Leo Tolstoy.
Animation master Ladislas Starevich made the first Russian animated film in 1910 – Lucanus Cervus. His other stop-motion shorts The Beautiful Leukanida (1912) and The Cameraman’s Revenge (1912), are also among the very first animated movies. In the following years, Starevich made short movies based on myths such as The Ant and the Insect (1913), as well as publicity movies about the First World War.
Olga Preobrazhenskaya was Russia’s first female director. In 1916 he made his directorial debut by casting Miss Peasant. The film has been lost. In Soviet times, he made Women of Ryazan (1927). During World War I, imports dropped sharply, and Russian filmmakers made many anti-German and patriotic movies. In 1916, 499 movies were made in Russia, more than 3 times the number 3 years earlier.
Before the October Revolution, Russia lacked a highly developed film market because the population base was too inadequate to support a local market. The Russian Revolution brought a variety of movies with anti-Tsarist themes. The last major film of the period, made in 1917, was Father Sergius by Yakov Protazanov and Alexandre Volkoff. It was the first film launch of the Soviet era.
Russian Movies and Directors
Vladimir Lenin was the first politician of the twentieth century to understand the value of film. He saw cinema as a method of unifying the country. Lenin’s government provided the tools for the rapid growth of the Soviet film industry, which was nationalized in August 1919 and placed under the direct authority of Lenin’s wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya. Among the initial acts of the Film Committee was to establish a specialized film institution in Moscow to train filmmakers, film specialists and actors. The All Union State Institute of Cinematography was the first such institution on the planet. Lev Kuleshov, who taught at the college, developed the revolutionary montage procedure called mosaic, a meaningful technique in which several images can be linked together to develop a symbolic or non-literal meaning.
Two of Kuleshov’s most famous pupils were Sergey Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin. Russian was the primary language in movies throughout the Soviet period, the cinema of the Soviet Union incorporated movies from the Armenian SSR, the Georgian SSR, the Ukrainian SSR, and also, to a lesser extent, the Lithuanian SSR, the Byelorussian SSR, and also of the Moldavian SSR. For much of the history of the Soviet Union, with significant exemptions in the 1920s and late 1980s, film content was largely restricted by censorship and administrative state control.
The growth of the Soviet film industry was brilliant and also related to the constructivist artistic activity. In 1922-3, Kino-Fot ended up being the first Soviet film publication and mirrored the constructivist views of its editor, Aleksei Gan. Much like much Soviet art in the 1920s, the movies dealt with important social and political events of the moment. A pivotal film of this era was Battleship Potemkin’s Sergei Eisenstein, not only for its depiction of the events leading up to the 1905 Revolution, but also for cutting-edge cinematic methods, such as the use of montage to showcase political concepts. To this day, Battleship Potemkin ranks among the best movies of perpetuity.
Vsevolod Pudovkin created a new concept of montage based on cognitive association. Pudovkin’s Mother (1926) was world famous for its editing, as well as its high psychological qualities. Later Pudovkin was openly accused of formalism for his film A Simple Case (1932), which he was required to cast without his score.
Russian Movies From the 30s Onwards
2 other crucial filmmakers of the Soviet silent period were Aleksandr Dovzhenko and also Dziga Vertov. Dovzhenko’s best known work is his trilogy Ukraine and the film Earth (1930). Vertov is famous for his film Man with a Movie Camera (1929) and also for the Cine-Eye concept that the cine camera, like the human eye, is used to discover the real world, which had a substantial effect on film documentary. With the consolidation of Stalinist power in the Soviet Union and socialist realism, which led from painting and sculpture directly to the cinema, Soviet film came under almost total state control.
movies launched in the 1930s includes musical movies prominent Jolly Fellows (1934), Circus (1936) and also Volga-Volga (1938) directed by Sergei Eisenstein’s longtime partner Grigori Aleksandrov. These movies starred the leading starlet of the moment Lyubov Orlova, who was also Aleksandrov’s wife. In the 1930s and 1940s, Eisenstein led 2 legendary historians – Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1944). Both movies were written by author Sergei Prokofiev.
Soon after the end of World War II, Soviet color movies such as Aleksandr Ptushko’s The Stone Flower (1947), Ballad of Siberia (1947), and Cossacks of the Kuban (1949), both by director Ivan Pyryev, were made. Soviet cinema went into rapid decline after World War II: film production dropped from 19 in 1945 to 5 in 1952. Production did not increase until the late 1950s, when Soviet movies achieved major success, comparable to the cinemas from other Eastern Bloc countries.
In the early 1960s and late 1950s, Soviet filmmakers chose far less restricted settings, and as censorship continued, movies arose that began to be outside the Soviet bloc such as Ballad of a Soldier by Grigory Chukhray who won the 1961 BAFTA Award for Best Film and also the 1958 Palme d’Or for Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying. Aleksander Zarkhi’s The Height (1957) is considered one of the best Russian movies of the 1950s.
One of the most famous Russian directors of the 70s and 60s was Andrei Tarkovsky, who directed the groundbreaking arthouse movies Ivan’s Childhood, Andrei Rublev, Solaris, Mirror and Stalker. His movies have won accolades at Cannes and the Venice Film Festival. His breakthrough film Ivan’s Childhood won the Golden Lion at the 1962 Venice Film Festival. Tarkovsky’s film Andrei Rublev (1966) won the FIPRESCI award at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. For Stalker (1979), Tarkovsky won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Cannes in 1980. He similarly won the Special Grand Prix for Solaris in 1972 and also for Sacrifice at Cannes in 1986. Various other notable Soviet directors include Sergei Bondarchuk, Sergey Paradzhanov, Larisa Shepitko, Kira Muratova , Marlen Khutsiev, Mikhail Kalatozov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Vladimir Menshov and Gleb Panfilov.
Sergei Bondarchuk started out as an actor. His directorial debut was Fate of a Man which was released in 1959. Bondarchuk is best known for starring in and directing the Oscar-winning Russian film War and Peace (1967). To name a few very famous literary adaptations from the 1960s was Grigory Kozintsev’s Hamlet (1964), winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Nikita Mikhalkov made his directorial debut in 1974 with At Home Among Strangers. His brother, Andrey Konchalovsky, is also a director. Konchalovsky made his directorial debut with The First Teacher in 1965, which won an award at the Venice Film Festival. Director Kira Muratova faced censorship during the Soviet era and started gaining public recognition during Perestroyka. His film Among Gray Stones (1983) was selected for Un Certain Regard at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.
Russian Comedy Movies
The comedy movie has consistently been one of the leading genres in Russia and the Soviet Union with the highest possible variety of box office hits. The most popular Soviet comedies of the time were directed by Leonid Gaidai, Eldar Ryazanov and Georgiy Daneliya, such as Carnival Night (1956), The Irony of Fate (1976), Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967), Operation Y and also Shurik’s Other Adventures (1965), The Twelve Chairs (1976), Walking the Streets of Moscow (1964).
Soviet filmmakers also created adventure movies historians, such as D’Artagnan and Three Musketeers (1978) and Gardes-Marines, Ahead! (1988). Among these, also “osterns”, the Soviet version of the western movies became important. Examples of the Ostern include White Sun of the Desert (1970), The Headless Horseman (1972), Armed and Dangerous (1977), A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (1987). In the spy movie television series prevailed, such as Seventeen Moments of Spring, The Meeting Place Can not Be Changed, Investigation Held by ZnaToKi, and also an adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories with Vasily Livanov as Holmes.
A large amount of WWII dramas made in the 1970s and 1980s were world famous, many of them being Yuri Ozerov’s Liberation (1971), Stanislav Rostotsky’s The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972), They Fought for Their Country (1975) by Sergei Bondarchuk, The Ascent (1977) by Larisa Shepitko and See as as come (1985) by Elem Klimov..
Yuri Norstein is probably one of the most popular Russian animators of the Soviet period; His computer-animated shorts Hedgehog in the Fog and Tale of Tales have gained worldwide recognition and have also inspired many directors. Larisa Shepitko’s film The Ascent was the first Soviet film to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1977. Vladimir Menshov’s mesmerizing drama Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears won the top prize for best film foreign at the 1981 Academy Awards and was also popular at the Soviet box office with over 93 million admissions.
The science fiction film Dead Man’s Letters (1986), Konstantin Lopushansky’s directorial pitch, was selected at the International Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival in 1987 and received the FIPRESCI Award at the 35th Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival. His next film A Visitor to a Museum (1989) was entered into the Moscow Film Festival where it won the Silver St. George and also the Prix of Ecumenical Jury. In the 1980s Russian supervisor Andrei Konchalovsky was the first director to discover success in Hollywood. In America he directed Maria’s Lovers (1984), Runaway Train (1985) and also Tango & Cash (1989).
With the onset of Perestroika and Glasnost in the mid-1980s, Soviet movies arose that began dealing with previously censored subjects, such as drug addiction, Rashid Nugmanov’s The Needle (1988), also starring rock singer Viktor Tsoi, deals with the theme of sexuality and alienation in Soviet culture, Little Vera (1988) by Vasili Pichul. The sector experienced a significant reduction in state aid and the state-controlled film circulation system also collapsed, leading to the prominence of Western movies in Russian theatres.
New Russian Movies
In the 1990s, far fewer movies were being made as the cinema market was undergoing major changes and the economic climate was also precarious. From 300 in 1990, the number dropped to 213 in 1991, 172 in 1992, 152 in 1993, 68 in 1994, 46 in 1995 and 28 in 1996. In 1990, censorship was lifted substantially: the state could no longer get into conflicts in the production and distribution of movies, except in cases of war propaganda, disclosure of state frauds and pornography. As part of the abolition of all major Soviet management arrangements, the USSR Film Committee was dissolved in 1991. Russian cinema of the 1990s had new themes, with the Chechen war further influencing filmmakers. Several movies of that time dealt with the battle and also with Stalinism.
Russian Movies to Watch
Here is a list of must-see Russian movies: from the great masterpieces of Soviet cinema to light comedies, from Russian westerns to independent movies, up to the new Russian cinema of recent years.
It is a 1926 Russian movie directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin. It tells of a mother, during the Russian Revolution of 1905, after her husband was killed and her son was put behind bars. Based on Maxim Gorky’s 1906 novel The Mother, it is the first part of Pudovkin’s “groundbreaking trilogy”, along with The End of St. Petersburg (1927) and Storm Over Asia (1928). The film was banned in the UK in 1930 after the Masses Stage and Film Guild obtained approval to release it in London. Russia, 1905. Vlasov is a pipefitter in a manufacturing plant, an alcoholic, and an abusive husband and father. Pavel later agrees to hide a small cache of pistols for the socialists under the floorboards of his house. His mother secretly watches him.
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
It is an experimental 1929 Russian documentary, directed by Dziga Vertov, photographed by his brother Mikhail Kaufman, and also edited by Vertov’s wife, Yelizaveta Svilova. Kaufman is also the film’s lead cinematographer. Vertov’s feature film, produced by the All-Ukrainian Photo Cinema Administration film studio, shows city life in Moscow, Kiev and Odessa in the late 1920s. It has no actors. From dawn to dusk, Soviet people go to their workplaces and places of recreation, relating to the innovations of modern life. The film is well known for the techniques used by Vertov, such as several exposures, fast action, slow motion, still scene, never-before-seen montage cuts, split screens, Dutch angles, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, stop motion animations and mirror images.
The film was ignored upon its initial release. In 2012 a panel of film critics voted it the eighth best film ever made, and in 2014 it was named the best docu-fiction of all time. The film was criticized and stymied due to its director’s attack on fictional film as a new “opium of the masses”. Sergei Eisenstein also ridiculed the film as “senseless hooliganism with the camera”. The work was mostly rejected in the West. The editing and shooting speed of the film, more than 4 times faster than a typical 1929 feature film, with approximately 1,775 different shots, irritated some critics.
Jolly Fellows (1934)
It is a 1934 Russian musical film, directed by Grigori Alexandrov and played by his wife Lyubov Orlova, a talented singer and also the first recognized celebrity of Soviet cinema. The screenplay was written by Aleksandrov, Vladimir Mass and Nikolai Erdman. It includes numerous tunes that have become classics throughout the Soviet Union. One of the most popular tracks – “Kak mnogo devushek khoroshikh” (Many good women) – enjoyed worldwide popularity, Both Orlova and her co-star, charming singer and comedy star Leonid Utyosov, became famous after the film.
Yelena (Mariya Strelkova), a wealthy aspiring singer, mistakes pastor Kostya Potekhin (Leonid Utyosov) for a popular Paraguayan conductor of a chamber orchestra and welcomes him to an event held at her home. He plays the flute, which brings the pets from his collective farm to the table. Yelena’s servant Anyuta (Lyubov Orlova) falls in love with Kostya. Kostya is attracted to Yelena and when he learns her true identity, he is really distressed.
The New Gulliver (1935)
It is a Russian animated film, the first to make substantial use of creature animation, which lasts throughout the film. The film was released in 1935 to widespread recognition and also made it to the director Aleksandr Ptushko an award at the Milan International Film Festival. The part of Gulliver was played by Vladimir Konstantinov, who was born in 1920 and died in 1944 near Tallinn during the Second World War. This was her first and also only film performance. The tale, a communist retelling of Jonathan Swift’s 1726 novel Gulliver’s Travels, deals with a child who imagines himself as a version of Gulliver who has landed in Lilliput enduring capitalist inequality and exploitation.
The Circus (1936)
It is a 1936 Russian musical film. It was directed by Grigori Aleksandrov and Isidor Simkov at the Mosfilm studios. Starring the esteemed and flamboyant Lyubov Orlova, wife of Aleksandrov, the first Soviet cinema celebrity and talented singer, the film is composed of numerous tunes that immediately became Soviet classics. One of the best known is the “Song of the Fatherland”.
The film is based on a script composed by Ilf, Petrov and Valentin Kataev and performed by the Moscow music hall, Under the Circus Dome. They made the play into the story, but didn’t like the supervisor’s analysis, and after a dispute, they dropped the job, restricted the use of their names in the credits, and the story was developed by Isaac Babel. Orlova plays an American circus performer who, after giving birth to a black child, is immediately subjected to fanaticism and forced to stay in the circus, but finds refuge, love and joy in the USSR.
Marion Dixon, a prominent American circus performer, must flee for their lives with her son, to escape a lynch mob in a rural American community. Where the father is is not stated, but it is suspected that he was lynched. Dixon is taken under the wing of Franz von Kneishitz, a brooding German agent whose mustache and quirks resemble those of Adolf Hitler. Kneishitz blackmails Dixon into being his mistress while manipulating her.
It is a Russian musical directed by Grigori Alexandrov, launched on April 24, 1938. It centers on a team of amateur entertainers heading to Moscow to perform in a competition of skill called the Moscow Musical Olympiad. Much of the activity takes place on a boat that takes a trip on the Volga River. The main roles were played by Alexandrov’s wife Lyubov Orlova, as well as Igor Ilyinsky.
According to Orlova, the film’s name is taken from a famous Russian folk song, Stenka Razin, which Alexandrov sang while rowing with Charlie Chaplin in San Francisco Bay. Chaplin amusingly suggested the words as a title for a film, but Alexandrov took it seriously and called his new film Volga-Volga. It was Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin’s favorite film. Nikita Khrushchev in his memoirs says that in the pre-World War II era, Stalin made fun of him for appearing as a character in the film. The film is a celebration of the Moscow River. In 1961, a new version of the film was released, with the scene from the ship “Joseph Stalin”.
In the rural town of Melkovodsk along the Volga River, postwoman Dunya Petrova, also known as “Arrow”, takes a journey on a barge to deliver an important message to Ivan Byvalov. Arrow has an interest in songs and longs to be a singer. Taking a road trip with Arrow is his partner Alesha Trubyshkin, director of a music band.
Alexander Nevsky (1938)
It’s a historical film Russian 1938 directed by Sergei Eisenstein. It shows the attempted invasion of Novgorod in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as their loss to Prince Alexander, recognized as Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263).
Eisenstein made the film in association with Dmitri Vasilyev and with a screenplay co-written with Pyotr Pavlenko; they were brought in to make sure Eisenstein did not get lost in “formalism” and to help shoot the film on a rational schedule. It was produced by Goskino through the Mosfilm production system, with Nikolai Cherkasov in the title role and a musical arrangement by Sergei Prokofiev. Alexander Nevsky was the first and also the most important of Eisenstein’s three audio movies. Eisenstein, Pavlenko, Cherkasov and Abrikosov were awarded the 1941 Stalin Prize for the film.
Alexander Nevsky is far less experimental in its narrative structure than Eisenstein’s previous movies; tells a story with a unique story arc and focuses on only one main character. The special effects and cinematography were among the most innovative of the time. The film culminates in the half-hour battle of the ice, led by Prokofiev’s menacing and inspiring music, a scene that has since acted as a template for legendary cinematic fights.
Ivan the Terrible (1944)
It’s a epic movie Russian in two parts written and directed by Sergei Eisenstein. It’s a biopic about Ivan IV of Russia, was Eisenstein’s last film, commissioned by Soviet premier Joseph Stalin. Part I was launched in 1944; Part II, although it ended up being produced in 1946, was not released until 1958, as it was prohibited by Stalin, who ended up being incensed at Ivan’s depiction in it. Eisenstein had actually created the film to have a third part to wrap up the story, however, with Part II being banned, filming of Part III was halted; after Eisenstein’s death in 1948, what had been finished of Part III was destroyed.
The film is mostly black and white, but has a couple of color scenes at the end of Part II. The movies have become highly regarded, impressive in action and striking in style. Every film movie lover should see this film, one of the great masterpieces of all time.
The Stone Flower (1946)
It’s a fantasy movie Russian 1946 directed by Aleksandr Ptushko. It is an adaptation of Pavel Bazhov’s short story of the same name based on the Russian mythology of the Ural area. It likewise includes story aspects of the short stories “The Lover of the Copper Mountain” and “The Master Craftsman”. The film was released in theaters by Mosfilm on April 28, 1946. It was the Soviet Union’s first color film, and participated in the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. It was a box office hit in the 1946 year in the USSR: it was watched by 23.17 million viewers. The tale is told from the point of view of the old writer Slyshko.
The skilled gem-cutter Prokopych is getting old, and the homeowner’s accountant pushes him to take a pupil. Prokopych tries to educate numerous boys, but in none he recognizes the “stone soul”. At one point she chooses a child who seems reckless and also extremely reckless in everything else, but reveals a great ability to set gems and develop patterns. He quickly surpasses his old educator. Since gem cutting can seriously damage health and well-being, Prokopych decides to keep him away from work.
The Ballad of Siberia (1948)
It is a Russian movie produced by Mosfilm and released in 1948, it was the second color film in the Soviet Union after The Stone Flower. It was directed by Ivan Pyryev and starring Vladimir Druzhnikov and also Marina Ladynina. It’s a Soviet musical film, loaded with tunes, like “The Wanderer,” that chronicle the progress of Siberia after WWII.
Pianist Andrei Balashov (Vladimir Druzhnikov) after being wounded at the front during the Great Patriotic War loses the opportunity to play due to a hand injury. Without saying goodbye to his friends and his precious Natasha (Marina Ladynina), he will most likely go to Siberia. He witnesses the construction of a factory and sings in a teahouse at night. Coincidentally, bad weather requires the plane with Andrey’s friends Boris Olenich and Natasha, who are flying abroad, to land at the flight terminal near the plant facility. Andrey meets them and it changes his life. He makes a trip to the Arctic motivated by the courageous work to build a symphonic oratorio “Ballad of Siberia”, gains international recognition.
Cossacks of the Kuban (1950)
It is a Russian movie that tells the life of peasants in the kolkhoz of the Kuban area of the Soviet Union, directed by Ivan Pyryev and played by Marina Ladynina, his wife at the time. The film is set in the early post-war years. At the autumn agricultural fair, a racehorse breeder Nikolai (Vladlen Davydov) meets an experienced breeder, Dasha Shelest (Klara Luchko). Their infatuation is mutual, but the lovers, who work on different farms, will have to overcome the resistance of their bosses, who don’t want to lose excellent workers.
Carnival Night (1956)
It is a 1956 Russian musical film. It is the first big screen film of Eldar Ryazanov, the initial role of Lyudmila Gurchenko and also one of the most famous movies starring the famous comedian Igor Ilyinsky. Produced during the Khrushchev Thaw, the film became the Soviet box office leader of 1956 with a total of 48.64 million tickets sold. Today it continues to be a hugely favorite New Year’s classic in Russia and the post-Soviet area.
It’s New Year’s Eve and the workers of a House of Culture are also getting ready with their annual New Year’s entertainment program. It consists of a great deal of dancing and singing, and also magic tricks. Suddenly, news breaks that a new director has been selected and will quickly show up. Comrade Ogurtsov arrives in time to refuse the agreed entertainment. For him, the New Year’s party has a different meaning, and he proposes annual reports to tell the development of the club with a speaker and the opportunity of life on the planet Mars. And also, probably, some serious music, something from the Classics, played by the Veterans band. No one is going to change the schedule just a couple of hours before the schedule, much less change it to something so uninteresting. Everyone regroups to prevent Ogurtsov from getting to the theater. Club members want to capture Ogurtsov whatever it takes to ensure that the shows can be performed and commemorate the New Year as originally prepared.
The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
It is a 1957 Russian movie about World War II. It shows the ferocity of war thus and the damage done to the Soviet spirit. The film was directed by the Soviet director of Georgian origin Mikhail Kalatozov in 1957 and starring Aleksey Batalov and Tatiana Samoilova. Adapted by Viktor Rozov from his play, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, the only Soviet film to win that honour. The film tells much more complex multidimensional heroines and focused on the effect of war on ordinary people. It wasn’t just the Soviets who sympathized with Veronika’s story. Cranes’ lead actress Tatiana Samoilova, who was often attached to her role, conquered Europe. Following the film’s triumph at the Cannes Film Festival in 1958, where it won the Grand Prix. Film critics hailed the production for its spectacular cinematography, acting, directing and editing.
Ballad of a Soldier (1959)
It is a 1959 Russian movie directed by Grigory Chukhray and starring Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko. Although it was set during WWII it is not largely a war film. It tells, in the context of the chaos of battle, different kinds of love: the glamorous love of a young couple, the committed love of a couple, the love of a mother for her child, and a Red Army soldier tries to come home during a leave, falling in love. The film was shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
The film was released in the United States in 1960 as part of a Soviet-American film exchange during the Cold War lull. The film has gained much acclaim for its modernity of style as well as its solid and refined story. With the main character’s unabashed youthful vigor, the film was hailed as a classic by both American and Soviet film critics. The film was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1961, for director and producer.
Ivan’s Childhood (1962)
It’s a war film Russian 1962 directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Co-written by Mikhail Papava, Andrei Konchalovsky and an unknown Tarkovsky, it is based on Vladimir Bogomolov’s 1957 short story “Ivan”. The film stars child actor Nikolai Burlyayev along with Valentin Zubkov, Evgeny Zharikov, Stepan Krylov, Nikolai Grinko and also Tarkovsky’s partner Irma Raush.
Ivan’s Childhood tells the story of the orphaned boy Ivan, whose parents were eliminated by the Germans, and also his experiences during World War II. Ivan’s Childhood was among several Soviet movies of its era, such as The Cranes Are Flying and also Ballad of a Soldier, that took a look at the human price to pay in warfare and did not promote the war experience as did the movies generated before the Khrushchev thaw. In a 1962 meeting, Tarkovsky specified that in making the film he intended to share all his disgust for war, that he chose his childhood years as they are the most contrasting with war.
The film was Tarkovsky’s first feature film. It earned him great success and made him globally recognized. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1962 and the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1962. Famous directors like Ingmar Bergman, Sergei Parajanov and also Krzysztof Kieślowski applauded the film and also mentioned it as an inspiration for their work. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a short article about the film stating that it was just one of the most extraordinary that he had ever seen before. In a subsequent meeting, Tarkovsky confessed that he agreed with the negative criticisms of the Italian intellectual Alberto Moravia, who had reviewed the film.
It is a 1964 film adaptation in Russian of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, based on a translation by Boris Pasternak. It was directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Iosif Shapiro, and starred Innokenty Smoktunovsky as Prince Hamlet. Grigori Kozintsev was actually a member of the group of Russian experimental musicians, the Factory of the Eccentric Actor, whose style was closely related to Dadaism and Futurism. In 1923 he intended to make Hamlet as a pantomime in an experimental way, but the project was not realized, and Kozintsev’s ideas turned into a film project. He returned to the theater in 1941 with a Leningrad production of King Lear. In 1954 Kozintsev directed a stage production of Hamlet at the Pushkin Theater in Leningrad, using Boris Pasternak’s translation; this was one of the first Soviet productions of the play in the post-Stalin era.
Kozintsev also wrote extensively on Shakespeare and a significant phase of his publication Shakespeare: Time and Conscience is devoted to his ideas on Hamlet together with a historical study. In an appendix titled “Ten Years with Hamlet,” he compiles excerpts from his diaries dealing with his experiences from the 1954 production stage and also with his 1964 film. Kozintsev’s film is faithful to the style of the work, but the running time is significantly shortened, reaching a total duration of 2 hours and 20 minutes from a work that can last up to 4 hours. The opening scene is abridged, including Act IV scenes 1 and 6, however the other scenes are performed although some are substantially abridged. Hamlet’s last speech boils down to simply “The rest is silence.” In Act IV there is some repetition to show the cunning of Rosencrantz and also of Guildenstern during the journey to England. Kozintsev often tries to depict the work’s material in aesthetic terms, just as there are notable scenes constructed without using dialogue, such as the opening scene where Hamlet arrives at Elsinore for court mourning, as well as the wake preceding the ghost’s gaze.
Walking the Streets of Moscow (1964)
It is a 1964 Russian movie directed by George Daneliya and produced by the Mosfilm studios. In the cast Nikita Mihalkov, Aleksei Loktev, Yevgeny Steblov and Galina Polskikh. The film also features four popular artists of the USSR – Rolan Bykov, Vladimir Basov, Lev Durov and Inna Churikova. The film premiered at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival and also won an award for the work of cameraman Vadim Yusov, best known for his successful collaboration with Andrei Tarkovsky. Volodya is an ambitious writer from Siberia. His initial short story was published in Yunost (“Youth”) magazine, and a well-known writer, Voronin, welcomed him to Moscow to get acquainted with his work. In the Moscow Metro Volodya suddenly meets a friend, Kolya (Nikita Mikhalkov), who is returning home after a hard night shift. Volodya wishes to stay at his old friends’ house, but doesn’t know where the road is, so Kolya helps him locate it.
Procedure Y and also Shurik’s Other Adventures (1965)
It’s a Funny movie 1965 Russian slapstick film directed by Leonid Gaidai, with Aleksandr Demyanenko, Natalya Seleznyova, Yuri Nikulin, Georgy Vitsin and also Yevgeny Morgunov. The film contains 3 independent episodes: “Workmate”, “Déjà vu” and also “Operation Y”. The story tells the travels of Shurik, the unpopular and nerdy Soviet student who usually gets into ridiculous circumstances, but constantly finds an escape route.
It was a successful film and became the highest grossing Soviet movie in 1965, with 69.6 million admissions. The episode Déjà vu, based on a short story from a Polish publication, won the Wawel Silver Dragon Grand Prix at the Kraków Film Festival in Poland in 1965. The film became a source of quotations for Russian and Soviet figures. In spring 2012 a statue to Lida and Shurik was erected in front of the Kuban State Technological University, Krasnodar. In 2015, a sculpture of Lida and Shurik sitting on a bench was placed in the courtyard of Ryazan State University.
Andrei Rublev (1966)
It is a 1966 Russian biographical historical film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and also co-written with Andrei Konchalovsky. The film was a re-edit from Tarkovsky’s 1966 film The Passion According to Andrei, and was censored during the early Brezhnev era in the Soviet Union. The film is loosely based on the life of Andrei Rublev, the 15th century Russian symbol painter. The film stars Anatoly Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Sergeyev, Nikolai Burlyayev and Tarkovsky’s partner Irma Raush. Savva Yamshchikov, a famous Russian restorer and art expert as well, was a consultant on the film.
Andrei Rublev is set in early 15th century Russia. The film is loosely based on the life of Andrei Rublev, and seeks to portray an image of medieval Russia. Tarkovsky sought to produce a film which would reveal the artist and also Christianity as an axiom of historical identification of Russia over a long period.
The film’s themes consist of art, religious beliefs, political uncertainty, self-education, and artistic production under a repressive regime. As a result, it was not released in the formally atheist Soviet Union for many years after it was finished, apart from a single 1966 showing in Moscow. A version of the film was selected at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI award. In 1971, a censored version of the film was released in the Soviet Union. The film was cut for commercial reasons upon its US release through Columbia Pictures in 1973. As a result, numerous variations of the film exist. These problems with censorship hampered the film for many years after its release, the film quickly being recognized by a number of Western film critics and film directors as a highly innovative work. Restored to its original variation, Andrei Rublev is now considered one of thebest movies ever, a great masterpiece.
Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)
It is a funny Russian movie from 1967 which deals with a story centered on the kidnapping of the bride-to-be, an ancient custom that existed in specific areas of the North Caucasus. The film was directed by Leonid Gaidai. It is the last film to include the “Coward” triad, a team of bumbling anti-heroes. The film premiered in Moscow on April 1, 1967. A naive ethnography student, named Shurik (Alexander Demyanenko), recognized from previous movies as a student of the Polytechnic Institute, travels to the Caucasus to discover old patterns and practices from the residents, traditions such as greetings, stories, and local toasts. At the beginning of the film, Shurik is traveling a hilly road in the Caucasus on a donkey. He meets a truck driver named Edik whose vehicle refuses to start. The donkey becomes stubborn and neither man has the ability to move with their own transport.
It is a 1967 Russian movie directed by Aleksandr Askoldov based on the short story by Vasily Grossman, “In the city of Berdychev”. Berdychev is centrally located in northern Ukraine. The action takes place during the Russian Civil War (1918-22), when sections of the Red Army, the White Army, the Polish and the Austrians fought over the territory. In Berdychev, the Yiddish language was formally launched at this time, and since 1924, it had a Ukrainian court that conducted its functions in Yiddish. The story is based on Jewish social traditions and customs. The main characters were played by Rolan Bykov and Nonna Mordyukova. It was made at the Gorky Film Studio. It is among the most effective stories concerning the Russian civil war and also motivated the young author to devote himself to literary works. He similarly attracted the attention of Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pilnyak and Isaac Babel.
White Sun of the Desert (1970)
It is a 1970 Russian western film. Its mix of action, drama, music and comedy, as well as unforgettable quotes, made it very successful in the Russian box office, as well as making it a classic of Russian cinema. Its lead tune, “Your Noble Highness Lady Fortune” ended up being a hit. The film is appreciated by Russian cosmonauts before many space launches as one of the best traditions. The film received no recognition throughout the Soviet period. With 34.5 million viewers, it was one of the most loved movies of the 1970s. In 1998, it was awarded the state prize by President Boris Yeltsin, being recognized as culturally relevant. The film had limited interest in the West. It was shown at a Soviet film festival at the small Carnegie Theater in 1973, with Leonid Brezhnev traveling to the United States. Beyond that, it was never released.
Trial on the Road (1971)
It is a 1971 black-and-white Russian movie set in World War II, directed by Aleksey German, with Rolan Bykov, Anatoly Solonitsyn and Vladimir Zamansky. The film was censored and blocked from circulation in the Soviet Union for 15 years after its release due to its questionable depiction of Soviet soldiers. The film is based on a story by the director’s father, Yuri German. The screenplay of the film was written by Eduard Volodarsky.
This film is the directorial launch of Alexei German, who has adopted an established strategy of “heroes” and “traitors”. The drama takes place in December 1942 amidst the Nazi Armed Forces of the USSR in World War II. It focuses on former Red Army sergeant Lazarev who was captured in his German uniform by Soviet supporters. He was previously captured by the Nazis and also ended up as a collaborator, but after being captured by the supporters he starts fighting against the Nazis.
It is a 1972 Russian science fiction film based on Stanisław Lem’s 1961 story of the same title. The film was co-written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, and starring Donatas Banionis and also Natalya Bondarchuk. The music was created by Eduard Artemyev and also includes a piece by J.S. Bach as its main theme. The story tells of a space station orbiting the fictional earth Solaris, where a scientific target is delayed due to the fact that the team of 3 researchers are faced with psychological problems. Psychotherapist Kris Kelvin (Banionis) takes a trip to the terminal to look into the circumstance, only to experience the exact same irrational feelings as the others.
Solaris won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival and was also shortlisted for the Palme d’Or. It gained critical recognition, and is also usually referred to as one of the best science fiction movies ever made. The film was Tarkovsky’s effort to bring better psychological depth to science fiction movies, alongside Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Some of the concepts Tarkovsky shared in this film are more solidified in his film Stalker (1979).
Lem worked with Tarkovsky and also Friedrich Gorenstein in creating the film’s screenplay, Lem said he never really enjoyed Tarkovsky’s version of his book. Lem argued that Tarkovsky made Crime and Punishment instead of Solaris, leaving out the cognitive and epistemological aspects of his story. Tarkovsky said that Lem disliked cinema and envisioned the film simply showing the book without producing a different cinematic element. Tarkovsky’s film deals with the inner life of his researchers. Lem’s book deals with the problem of man in nature and deep space.
They Fought for Their Country (1975)
It is a 1975 Russian war film in 2 parts based on the novel of the same name written by Mikhail Sholokhov and directed by Sergei Bondarchuk. It became part of the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. The film is the story of a Soviet army fighting a rearguard activity during the German march on Stalingrad. After losing a multitude of soldiers in combat, a group of Soviet riflemen returns to their base in Stalingrad. During a break, the soldiers talk on various topics, after which they rest and take a shower. Among the soldiers in the group, Pyotr Lopakhin (Vasily Shukshin), who plays a cheerful boy, most likely in a nearby town for salt and a bucket for preparing freshly caught crayfish. With his chatty charm, Lopakhin makes a request to an elderly Cossack lady (Angelina Stepanova), but is ridiculed as the soldiers drive off leaving the townspeople to fend for themselves. After a bitter argument, it turns out that behind the guise of a cheerful Lopakhin, an individual emerges who is deeply concerned about the fate of his nation, and the old woman fulfills his request.
It’s a drama movie Russian 1975 directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. It is loosely autobiographical, unconventionally structured and integrates rhymes composed by the director’s father, Arseny Tarkovsky. The film features Margarita Terekhova, Ignat Daniltsev, Alla Demidova, Anatoly Solonitsyn, Tarkovsky’s wife Larisa Tarkovskaya and her mother Maria Vishnyakova. Innokenty Smoktunovsky provides the voice-over and Eduard Artemyev the music and audio effects.
Mirror is structured in the form of a non-linear story, with its first written version dating back to 1964, with numerous versions scripted by Tarkovsky and Aleksandr Misharin. It revolves around the memories of a poet who died at crucial moments in his life and in Soviet society. The film integrates present-day scenes with youthful memories, dreams, and even newsreel footage. His cinematography slips between color, black and white and sepia. The flow of dream imagery in the film has been compared to the stream-of-consciousness method of modernist works of literature.
The Looking Glass originally polarized moviegoers and film critics, with many finding its narrative incomprehensible. Since its release, it has been re-evaluated as one of the best movies in the history of cinema, and also Tarkovsky’s magnum opus. It actually found favor with many Russians, for whom it remains Tarkovsky’s most valuable work. When Mosfilm critics were asked to review Mirror in November 1974, the reactions were very mixed. Some saw it as an important work which would certainly be much better understood by future generations; others dismissed it as a failure and thought many more educated viewers would find his story uninteresting. This has caused very limited circulation.
It’s a arthouse movie science fiction film 1979 directed by Andrei Tarkovsky with a screenplay created by Arkady and also Boris Strugatsky, loosely based on their 1972 novel Roadside Picnic. The film tells the story of an exploration led by a man called “Stalker” (Alexander Kaidanovsky), who leads his 2 clients: a wistful writer (Anatoly Solonitsyn) looking for motivation and a teacher (Nikolai Grinko) looking for scientific exploration, cross a perilous swamp to a magical place known just as the “Zone”, where apparently there is an energy that satisfies the most intimate needs of a human being. The film integrates science fiction components with meaningful, philosophical and emotional reflections.
The film was initially shot over a year on film that later proved substandard, and was re-shot with new cinematographer Alexander Knyazhinsky. Stalker was launched by Goskino in May 1979. At the time of its release, the film garnered mixed reviews, but in the following years it has been called a classic of world cinema, among the best movies of all time. The film sold over 4 million tickets, mostly in the Soviet Union, against a budget plan of 1 million rubles. Very recently, the film’s ratings have been extremely favorable. Some have contrasted Stalker with Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, also published in 1979, and have suggested that as a journey into the heart of darkness Stalker seems more convincing: it is a flexible allegory concerning human consciousness.
A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (1987)
It’s a 1987 funny Russian Western film, homages to silent movies and the changing power of cinema. This film is especially rare among Soviet movies for two reasons: it was directed by a woman, Alla Surikova, and secondly, it was an unusual Soviet post-modernist escape. The film had the highest grossing in the Soviet Union in 1987, with 60 million admissions.
Mr. John First (Johnny) is a cinematographer who takes a trip to Santa Carolina when he is visited by a gang of thieves, led by Black Jack. Johnny is the only one who doesn’t draw a weapon and fight for the duration of the action and is then questioned by Black Jack as to why. After that she takes the book that Johnny is so busy reading and ends up mistakenly believing it’s a Bible, until she notices that it consists of multiple blank pages. Johnny argues that it is a film history publication. Black Jack gets tired of the situation and abandons him.
The Ascent (1977)
It is a 1977 black and white Russian movie directed by Larisa Shepitko and produced by Mosfilm. The film was shot in January 1974 near Murom, Vladimir Oblast, Russia, in terrible winter weather, as required by the script, based on the novel Sotnikov by Vasil Bykaŭ. It was Shepitko’s last film before his death in an automobile accident in 1979. The film won the Golden Bear at the 27th Berlin International Film Festival in 1977.
During World War II, 2 Soviet partisans travel to a Belarusian city in search of food. After taking an escort from the collaborationist leader (Sergei Yakovlev), they return to their base, but are identified by a German patrol. After a long firefight in the snow in which one of the Germans is knocked out, both boys escape, but Sotnikov (Boris Plotnikov) is shot in the leg. Rybak (Vladimir Gostyukhin) has to get him to safety, to the home of Demchikha (Lyudmila Polyakova), the mother of 3 small children. However, they are discovered by enemies.
Come and See (1985)
It is a 1985 Russian anti-war film directed by Elem Klimov and starring Aleksei Kravchenko and Olga Mironova. The film’s screenplay, written by Klimov and Ales Adamovich, is based on the 1971 novel “Khatyn” and the 1977 short story I Am from the Fiery Village that Adamovich co-authored. Klimov had to fight 8 years of censorship by the Soviet authorities before he could be allowed to make the film the way he wanted.
The film’s story focuses on Nazi German soldiers of Belarus, and how events are observed by a young Belarusian adult named Flyora, who, against his mother’s dreams, joins the Belarusian resistance movement, and describes Nazi wrongs and the human suffering caused to the people of Eastern European cities. The film blends hyperrealism with surrealism, and also an existentialism with poetic, emotional, apocalyptic and politicians.
The film won the FIPRESCI award at the 14th Moscow International Film Festival. Telling the story with great passion, Klimov takes advantage of that imaginary underworld of blood and mud and also growing madness that Francis Ford Coppola spotted in Apocalypse Now. It also gets a remarkably dazzling performance from its inexperienced teenage protagonist. Klimov’s strength is his aesthetic, animistic and muscular sense, like that of his compatriot Andrei Konchalovsky in his impressive Siberiade.
Hedgehog in the Fog (1975)
It is a 1975 Russian animated film directed by Yuri Norstein and produced by Soyuzmultfilm of Moscow. The script was written by Sergei Grigoryevich Kozlov, who also published a short story of the same name. Hedgehog goes on his night visit to his close friend Bear-Cub. Each evening, both are content to have tea and count the stars. Tonight, Hedgehog will bring Bear some raspberry jam as a gift. When Hedgehog comes out, a sinister looking eagle owl starts following him.
Story of Tales (1979)
It is a 1979 Russian animated film directed by Yuri Norstein and produced by the Soyuzmultfilm laboratory in Moscow. The film won countless awards, was well known to critics and other animators, and even earned the title of the best animated film ever made. The film, like Andrei Tarkovsky’s Mirror, attempts to structure itself as a human memory. Memories are not remembered in a cold sequential order; rather, they are remembered by the organization of something with an addition, suggesting that any kind of effort to place memory in the film cannot be told as a standard story.
The film is made up of a collection of associated scenes whose elements are mixed together. Among the key themes is warfare, with a particular focus on the enormous losses suffered by the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front during World War II. A number of characters and their dialogues make up a large part of the film: the poet, the little woman and the bull, the boy and the crows, the dancers and the soldiers, the train, the apples and the little gray wolf.
Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1980)
It is a 1980 Russian movie written by Valentin Chernykh and directed by Vladimir Menshov. The main roles were played by Vera Alentova and Aleksey Batalov. The film won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 1981. The film is set in Moscow in 1958 and 1978. The story tells of 3 girls: Katerina, Lyudmila and Antonina, who come to Moscow from small towns in the Russia. They meet in a dorm and eventually become friends. Antonina (Raisa Ryazanova) meets Nikolai, a kind and shy boy whose parents have a second home in the country. Katerina (Vera Alentova) is an honest woman aiming to earn her chemistry degree while working in a manufacturing plant.
Dead Man’s Letters (1986)
It’s a post-apocalyptic movie from 1986 directed and written by Konstantin Lopushansky. He wrote it with Vyacheslav Rybakov and Boris Strugatsky. This is his directorial launch. The film was selected at the International Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival in 1987 and received the FIPRESCI Award at the 35th Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival.
In the aftermath of nuclear armageddon, a group of people are alive underground in shelters. They cannot leave the house without wearing protective clothing and gas masks. Among them is a professor who tries to use the letters to get in touch with his missing boyfriend.
The film looks cutthroat and realistic and also for spectacular aesthetics of the scenes, but despite its technological merits, it simply seems a little too perfect to really persuade and deeply affect on an emotional level. Lopushinsky still manages to produce a social fresco of one of the most terrible catastrophes possible.
A Visitor to a Museum (1989)
It is a 1989 Russian post-apocalyptic film directed and written by Konstantin Lopushansky. It participated in the 16th Moscow International Film Festival where it won the Silver St. George and also the Prix of Ecumenical Jury. The film is the second in a collection of movies called “Apocalypse Quartet” directed by Lopushansky set in post-apocalyptic scenarios. The quartet’s other movies are Dead Man’s Letters (1986), Russian Symphony (1994), and The Ugly Swans (2006).
In a post-apocalyptic world after a global ecological catastrophe, the survivors of humanity are now detached from the fate of the world, and no longer try to get out of the disaster. Among the people there is a caste of “deteriorates”, psychologically handicapped human beings. The protagonist reaches the sea, which occasionally overflows, then retreats. He intends to take a look at the old sunken city, which will surely reappear when the sea recedes once more. While waiting for this moment, talk to the citizens. He discovers that the “average” people, the innkeepers, have effectively lost what is left of their spirituality and are quenching their spiritual appetite with entertainment. They dissuade him from going to the sunken city, inviting him to stay with them, pay attention to the songs, attend banquets, dances and television. A housewife attracts him and they make love.
Little Vera (1988)
It is a Russian movie by the film director Vasili Pichul. The film was the leader in ticket sales in the Soviet Union in 1988 with 54.9 million admissions, and was also one of the most successful Soviet movies in the United States. Part of its appeal was that it was one of the first Russian movies with sex scenes. The main character of the film is a teenager, who after completing college feels trapped in her rural community. With its negative view of Soviet culture, the film was normal for the time of perestroika, during which many similar movies were released.
The film received 6 awards. Among its wins, it got “Best Actress” for Natalya Negoda at the Nika Awards in 1989. The film’s director, Vasili Pichul, got the Special Jury Award at the 1988 Montreal World Film Festival and the FIPRESCI Award at the Venice Film Festival in Venice in 1988. The soundtrack includes 2 songs performed by Sofia Rotaru: It Was, But It Has Gone and Only This Is Not Enough, the leitmotiv of the film’s perestroika. It was the first Russian movie that truthfully tested the disobedience of youth and dissatisfaction with the system. The film honestly sides with young people against authority, showing the authorities as ruthless and repressive.
The film was a great advance in portraying ordinary everyday Soviet life. Negoda became the first Soviet actress to appear nude in a sex scene. Negoda also posed nude for Playboy with the headline “From Russia, With Love” for the film’s American launch. The film had the ability to attract more than 50 million Russian viewers, mainly due to its notable sex scenes.
The Chekist (1992)
It is a 1992 Russian historical film directed by Aleksandr Rogozhkin, based on a 1923 story by Vladimir Zazubrin. It tells the story of a bloody operation and the failure of a Soviet Cheka safety and security authority associated with mass executions during the Russian Civil War. The film is set during the Russian Civil War during the Red Terror. Normal government work is going on in a rural office of the Cheka, the Russian Emergency Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, in an undisclosed city. On a daily basis, a Cheka troika tribunal consisting of supervisor Srubov and his aides Pepel and Katz reads a long checklist of all types of counter-revolutionaries and opponents. Those incarcerated are consistently promptly sentenced and the sentence, regardless of the complaint, gender and age of the individual, is the death sentence.
Burnt by the Sun (1994)
It is a 1994 film by the Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov and Azerbaijani screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov. The film shows the story of a senior Red Army police officer, played by Mikhalkov, and also his family during the Great Purge of the late 1930s in the Stalinist Soviet Union. While vacationing with his wife, young daughter and relatives, things change substantially for Colonel Kotov when his wife’s old lover Dmitri appears after being away for several years. The film also stars Oleg Menshikov, Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė and also Mikhalkov’s daughter Nadezhda Mikhalkova.
The film was a hit in Russia and also garnered favorable reviews in the United States. It won the Grand Prix at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and various other accolades. The usual objections of critics in Russia were that the film was “too commercial” and lacked severity. It is a fantastic Chekhovian reflection on addiction, love and even fears of an era that has thrown ordinary Russian families into turmoil, a courageous and lyrical film with an author’s cinematic direction. The film builds gradually, reaching a climax of silent and unexpected destruction.
The Thief (1997)
It is a 1997 Russian movie written and directed by Pavel Chukhray. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and also won the Nika Award for Best Film and Best Director. Winner of the International Youth Jury Award, the Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Senate and the UNICEF Award at the 1997 Venice Film Festival.
The film follows a girl, Katya (Yekaterina Rednikova), and her 6-year-old son Sanya (Misha Philipchuk), who, in 1952, meet a skilled Soviet policeman named Tolyan (Vladimir Mashkov). Katya, a poor widow, and her child, Sanya, attempt to survive in the post-World War II Soviet Union in the early 1950s. While on a train, they meet a good looking policeman, Tolyan, who seduces their mom. Katya stays with Tolyan, who becomes her husband and also acts as stepfather to Sanya, who is initially very distrustful of the man, detesting his authority. Tolyan ends up becoming a petty criminal, but likewise becomes a father figure to Sanya as well. There are a number of quotations from Hamlet.
It’s a Russian crime film noir of 1997 written and directed b Aleksey Balabanov. The film stars Sergei Bodrov Jr. as Danila Bagrov, a young man who gets involved with the St. Petersburg mafia through his criminal older brother. It appeared in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. After its release on VHS in June 1997, Brother suddenly transformed into one of the most successful Russian movies of the 1990s and quickly became a cult film throughout Russia. Due to the success of the film a sequel Brother 2 was released in 2000. The film became an instant hit.
The story focuses on the problems and mentality of 1990s Russia: criminal offence, poverty, disaffection of young Russians, lack of family and dishonesty. All this was caused by the results of the Soviet collapse, which happened only 6 years earlier. Despite such a negative background in the midst of social degeneration, the story highlights that there is still courage in the character of Danila, who is depicted with an intense sense of justice and ethics. It carries an effective emotional message to Russian audiences that even in such bleak times, there is still hope.
Mother and Son (1997)
It is a 1997 Russian movie directed by Aleksandr Sokurov, which illustrates the connection between a dead mother and her child. It was Sokurov’s world-famous first feature film and is also the opening issue of a trilogy whose subject is drama in human relationships. It is followed by Father and Son (2003), and by Two Brothers and a Sister, the last chapter, although as of 2019 the latter has not actually been made; his film Alexandra (2007) is often considered as part of this collection, as another film on the same theme. It participated in the 20th Moscow International Film Festival where it won the Special Silver St. George.
The film has 2 main characters, a boy and a sick old woman. The boy is the son (Alexei Ananishnov) who takes care of his sick mother (Gudrun Geyer). His health issue is undefined and he occasionally gasps for air. Her son combs her hair, feeds her, covers her and takes her in his arms. Once her son was completely dependent on her, now she is completely dependent on him. As the film progresses, the boy takes his mother on a long journey to her death. It is a circular movement that makes a long journey through a dreamlike countryside, along winding dusty roads. At each of their brief stops on the journey there is a minute of contemplation, and tender whispers. These sweet whispers inform of the mother’s love for her son when she supported him and also of the son’s love for his mother as he opens up the strange course of his destiny for her.
8 1⁄2 $ (1999)
It is a 1999 Russian crime comedy byGregory of Constantinople. It was his directorial launch. Due to copyright issues it was only launched in 2011. The story and also the title refer to Federico Fellini’s film 81⁄2. Director Gera Kremov works shooting commercials but imagines directing a feature film. He becomes acquainted with Matilda, the partner of the mafioso Fyodor, and begins a close relationship with her.
After a while, having obtained money from Fyodor, he shoots a video clip with Matilda and subsequently gets a chance to make a real film with her in the lead. For the production of the film, Gera asks for $ 300,000, and Fyodor, having agreed, meets him. On the spot, an unwanted shock awaits Gera: Fyodor is well aware of the not-so-platonic relationship between Gera and Matilda. He wants to take drastic solutions immediately, but he chokes on a pistachio and dies. The couple squander $150,000 overnight, and Fyodor’s twin brother Stepan joins them early in the morning to get the money back. Gera addresses the matter by calling a mobster named Spartak.