Mikhail Kalatozov – Jim Shvante (marili svanets) AKA Salt For Svanetia (1930)

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The Georgian-born filmmaker Michail Kalatozov (19031973) is best remembered for directing some of the most innovative and successful Soviet films of the 1950s and 1960s. This DVD presents digitally restored versions of two of his lesser-known, early works, which were highly controversial in their time but now rank among the finest achievements in Soviet silent cinema. Salt for Svanetia is an austere depiction of peasant life in the inhospitable terrain of the Caucasus Mountains. Nail in the Boot, a biting parable of wartime irresponsibility, chillingly prefigures the later Stalinist purge trials. Günter Buchwald’s and Stephen Horne’s prize-winning scores and the experimental accompaniment by Masha Khotimshi underline the poetic and expressive visual style of these exceptional masterpieces. Continue reading

Mikhail Kalatozov – Letyat zhuravli AKA The Crane’s are Flying (1957)

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Veronica and Boris are walking in the streets of Moscow and they love each other. Veronica is laughing, cause they are happy together this morning. They see some cranes in the sky. When arriving to Veronica’s house they talk about a rendezvous at the bank of the river. And the 2nd World War begins in Moscow. Boris works in a factory and he hasn’t got time to speak with Veronica. He has to go to the war … Continue reading

Mikhail Kalatozov – Zagovor obrechyonnikh aka Conspiracy of the Doomed (1950)

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From a biography of Kalatozov: (link)

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/…/ During the late 1940s Ц early 1950s when not many movies were shot in the country, Kalatozov was granted the State Award (1951) for his film Zagovor obrechyonnikh (Conspiracy of the Doomed, 1950), a political pamphlet after the same-name play by N. Virta, starring the uncomparable Russian singer Aleksandr Vertinsky. /…/ Continue reading

Mikhail Kalatozov – Soy Cuba aka I am Cuba [+Extras] (1964)

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Synopsis (From IMDB)
Four vignettes in Batista’s Cuba dramatize the need for revolution; long, mobile shots tell almost wordless stories. In Havana, Maria faces shame when a man who fancies her discovers how she earns her living. Pedro, an aging peasant, is summarily told that the land he farms has been sold to United Fruit. A university student faces down a crowd of swaggering U.S. sailors and then watches friends shot by police when they try to distribute a pro-Castro leaflet. The war arrives on the doorstep of peasants Mariano, Amelia, and their four children when Batista’s forces bomb the hills. Mariano wants peace, so he seeks out the guerrillas to join the fight. Continue reading

Mikhail Kalatozov – Vernie Druz’ya AKA True Friends (1954)

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Like many Russian films of the mid-1950s, True Friends sings the praises of collectivism. V. Merkuryev stars as Nestratov, who while rising to success as an architect becomes an insufferable boor — and even worse, an individualist. Two of his old friends, one a surgeon and the other a horse trainer for the state, show Nestratov the folly of his ways. In the end, our hero is more than happy to embrace the edicts of working together for the common good. Saving True Friends from wallowing in its own propagandas are the engaging performances of its cast and the sprightly direction by Mikhail Kalatozov. Continue reading

Mikhail Kalatozov – Neotpravlennoye pismo aka The Letter Never Sent (1959)

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Description: A year after his The Cranes are Flying won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Kalatozov re-teamed with cinematographer Sergei Urusevksy and leading lady Tatyana Samojlova to shoot this story about four geologists on an expedition to find diamond deposits in Eastern Siberia. As the team confronts the raging elements of nature—including a tremendous forest fire—that nearly wipe them out, the film questions the sacrifice of human lives to further scientific progress. An intriguing example of new Soviet cinema, The Letter’s striking visuals and bold camerawork recall Kalatozov’s poetic documentary Salt for Svanetia (1929), which brought him fame for its visual bravado and powerful Communist propaganda. Continue reading

Mikhail Kalatozov – Valeriy Chkalov (1941)

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Description:

The film is about the fate of the famous Soviet aviator Chkalov, who in mid 30’es made with his crew the first nonstop flight from Moscow to the Far East, covering over 9000 kilometers and later made the first nonstop transatlantic flight from Moscow to the USA across the North Pole.
Source : www.lenfilm.ru Continue reading