Russia

Pavel Khvaleev – III (2015)

During the outbreak of a mysterious deadly epidemic devastating a rural European village, sisters Ayia and Mirra promise their dying mother to look after each other to the end of their lives. When Mirra, the younger sister, falls victim to the epidemic, Ayia in desperation realizes that conventional medicine will not save her sister. Read More »

Nikolay Khomeriki – 977 AKA Nine Seven Seven (2006)

Synopsis:
Serious boffin Ivan (Fedor Lavrov) arrives in unnamed town from Novosibirsk to take up a post at institute run by Sergey Sergeyevich (Pavel Lubimtsev) and is immediately put in charge of Unit 7 where the particle flux experiments are taking place. Maximum reading a subject can produce is 977, hence title, and fetching waif Rita (Klavdia Korshunova) does just that, but seems to disappear mysteriously from the sealed observation rooms every time the experiment is conducted. Overtones of Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” and “Stalker” are bolstered by hints, so subtle those just reading the subtitles won’t get them, that action takes place in the ’70s. Read More »

Vasili Sigarev – Zhit AKA Living (2012)

Quote:
It is already a challenge to make a film on death and call it Living. But Sigarev fearlessly gets to the very heart of things, where life, death, God, love and the imagination form an indestructible whole. A harsh and sometimes brutal experience, but catharsis will follow.

Vasily Sigarev’s second feature, after his acclaimed Wolfy, is an existential portrait of protagonists living in a wintry Russian province. A mother wants to reunite with her twin daughters. A young couple marry in church, but immediately after the ceremony, God – or maybe the Devil, or maybe Blind Fate – tests their love in the most brutal way. A boy wants to see his estranged father, despite his mother’s violent protests. Each of these characters lives through their own ordeal. Read More »

Bakur Bakuradze – Okhotnik AKA The Hunter (2011)

Farmer Ivan Dunaev gets up early. He feeds his piglets, does paperwork, fixes the tractor, and weighs the meat he’ll take in his old pickup truck to the market to sell. He has a wife, a teenage daughter, and a young son. And he loves to hunt. His world revolves around these things. Then, one day, two new workers, Lyuba and Raya, on work release from the local prison colony, arrive on the farm. Ivan doesn’t notice it at first, but something begins to change. Read More »

Kirill Serebrennikov – Leto AKA Summer (2018)

Plot: A love triangle emerges around a rock and roll musician, his protege, and his wife in 1980s Russia.

The plot is based on little-known facts of Viktor Tsoi’s (Teo Yoo) life and unfolds in the summer of the early 1980s in Leningrad. The main storyline of the film tells the story of the relationship between the 19-year-old Tsoi, 26-year-old Mike Naumenko (Roman Bilyk), and his wife Natalia (Irina Starshenbaum), as well as the formation of the Leningrad Rock Club and the recording of Tsoi’s first album.

The film featured the music of the band Kino and other Russian rock bands.

Leto won Cannes Soundtrack Award Read More »

Mariya Saakyan – Mayak AKA The Lighthouse (2006)

AMG (allrovi.com): Maria Saakyan’s elegiac, semi-autobiographical slice-of-life drama The Lighthouse (2006) unfolds in the very early ’90s, against the backdrop of the Caucasus wars that plagued Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. As the scope of this mass-scaled conflict extends itself to one woman’s small village, she is forced to drop everything, move to Moscow, and start over from scratch — thus bidding farewell to her hometown and way of life, perhaps indefinitely. Read More »

Bakur Bakuradze – Shultes (2008)

Quote:
A once-promising athlete whose career was cut short due to a tragic injury turns to a life of crime, and receives an unusual gift that leads him to make a series of rash decisions. Lesha Shultes is only twenty-five years old, but his best days are already behind him. He was set to take the world of sports by storm when a serious car accident rendered him unable to compete on the playing field. Now, the only way Lesha can communicate with the outside world is by stealing. In between bouts of picking pockets on the streets, Lesha visits his ailing mother and his brother in the Army. Lesha has been effectively cut off from all human emotion. It’s only when he receives a video from a girl that he previously robbed that Lesha begins to feel something oddly familiar somewhere deep within. Read More »