Little Shop of Horrors, Russian Style
By Oleg Liakhovich The Moscow News
On the heels of the XXVI Moscow International Film Festival came an event even more pompous and widely publicized – the premiere of a movie meant to spark a revival of Russia’s popular cinema while giving Hollywood a battle royale on its own terms
Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor in original Russian) depicts the on-going struggle between the magical forces of good and evil in present-day Moscow. The movie was eagerly awaited by fans and became an object of an intense advertising campaign in all media. Its US $3mln budget – an incredible sum for a local movie – and plentiful special effects, also a novelty for Russian cinema with its established traditions of inexpensive quality dramas and solid adaptations of literary classics, were to make Night Watch Russia’s equivalent of an American summer blockbuster. The producers actually went as far as officially calling it “the first Russian blockbuster” long before it had the chance to appear on screen. Even Russia’s own Oscar winner and self-styled national sage director Nikita Mikhalkov, while admitting that the film “wasn’t his thing”, said that it was “cool” and called it Russia’s “answer to Quentin Tarantino”. Serious praise indeed – after all, only a dirty mind would suspect Mikhalkov of still being sore at old Quentin for “stealing” his Palme d’Or in Cannes back in 1994.
Lightsaber, Anyone? Continue reading
Eve Charlier is poisoned by her husband, an unscrupulous state official, so that he can marry her younger sister. At the same moment that she dies, a political agitator, Pierre Dumaine is shot dead by a police informer on the eve of an uprising against the state. Eve and Pierre meet up in the afterlife, where they can observe the world of the living but cannot alter anything. When they appear to fall in love, they are allowed to return to the land of the living for one more day. If they can prove that they love each other sincerely, they will be permitted to live out the rest of their lives together. Otherwise…
Once upon a time, under the reign of the three kingdoms, there was a woman who tempts a Buddhist priest named Cho. She is a one-thousand-year-old fox who intends to reincarnate as a human being. Not knowing this, Cho lives with the fox. But in the end, they get separated harboring sadness of unfulfilled love in this world.
- Written by KCCLA Continue reading
A woman inexplicably finds herself cut off from all human contact when an invisible, unyielding wall suddenly surrounds the countryside. Accompanied by her loyal dog Lynx, she becomes immersed in a world untouched by civilization and ruled by the laws of nature. Continue reading
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The ideas expressed in the story of Faust never get old and seem to grow more relevant with time… In Jan Svankmajer’s 1994 retelling, this animation genius and surrealist creates a world of shifting realities, one which illustrates that we create our own destruction… This bizarre classic breathes new life into a myth frequently employed to explore human desire, folly, and frailty. Svankmajer’s deft mix of stop-motion animation, puppetry, and live action adds depth to this exploration as it does to the art of filmmaking. Continue reading
The Ugly Duckling is an animated black-and-white cartoon released by Walt Disney in 1931 as part of the Silly Symphonies series
Although the short film is loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling”, the only real similarities are one bird getting confused for another and his unique abilities enabling him to become something special. In this version, a duckling has gotten mixed in among the farmyard chickens. Despite his best attempts to fit in with his chick siblings, things don’t work out. However, when the hen’s chicks are threatened by a waterfall, due to them being dropped off in a river by a cyclone, the little duckling saves them and is lauded as a hero. Continue reading
“Perhaps the most fascinating component of the films directed by Orson Welles was the masterpiece he never lived to complete. Beginning in 1957 and continuing on-and-off for the next 15 years, Welles self-financed and directed an audacious film version of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” which brought the legendary knight and his rotund aide Sancho Panza out of 16th century Andalusia and into the world of (then-) modern Spain. But despite his genius behind the camera, Welles was remarkably neglectful in maintaining and preserving the footage he created and much of his work was considered lost…and the footage that remained was not properly stored! However, throughout the 1980s and early 1990s the Spanish filmmakers Jess Franco (who served as Welles’ second unit director on Chimes at Midnight) and Patxi Irigoyen tracked down nearly all of the surviving footage, finished the incomplete soundtrack based on Welles’ notes, restored the footage where they could and offered a reconstructed Don Quixote de Orson Welles in 1992…” – Phil Hall, Filmthreat.com Continue reading