Andrey Nekrasov – Bunt. Delo Litvinenko aka Poisoned by Polonium (2007)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

“If anything should happen to me, I beg you to show this tape to the whole world.” On November 23rd, 2006, these words, spoken on camera by exiled former KGB and FSB (post communist Russia’s dreaded new secret police) agent Alexander “Sasha” Litvinenko, became a gruesome self-fulfilling prophecy. After an agonizingly painful ordeal, Litvinenko succumbed to what was allegedly radiation poisoning from a lethal dose of toxic Polonium-210, surreptitiously slipped into his tea during a London meeting with two FSB ex-colleagues three weeks earlier. In Poisoned by Polonium: Continue reading

Igor Voloshin – Ya AKA I Am (2009)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
With three full feature films in two years under his belt, Igor Voloshin has both received critical acclaim and provoked public debates. Nirvana (2008), a “gothic cyber-punk” about drug addiction, got Voloshin the Best Debut prize at the Kinotavr film festival in Sochi. In March 2009, Russia’s First TV Channel screened Voloshin’s Olympius Inferno, a melodrama-cum-action about Georgia’s attack on Ossetia dubbed by many critics, such as Mkheidze and Kuvshinova, a state-commissioned “agit-prop” film. His next project, I Am,competed at Kinotavr 2009, where the film’s director of photography Dmitrii Iashonkov received an award for Best Cinematography. The film continues to generate controversy: “the best film of the year or the shame of Russian cinematography?” (Mkheidze and Kuvshinova) Continue reading

Rimas Tuminas – Uncle Vanya (2010)

Winner of 2010 Golden Mask for Best Russian Theatre Performance.

Anton Chekhov
UNCLE VANYA
Vakhtangov Theatre, Moscow

Director: Rimas Tuminas
Composer: Faustas Latenas
Set designer: Adomas Yacovskis

Rimas Tuminas’s production was enthusiastically greeted by Moscow critics – not only for its undoubted merits but also because Uncle Vanya gave a positive response to the ‘accursed question’: is it possible at all to breathe life into a half-dead academic theatre today? Yes, it’s possible, answers the Vakhtangov Theatre but only in case there is a powerful director that is able to sweep his actors along with him. In Uncle Vanya there are a lot of witty solutions and paradoxical psychological moves. Rimas Tuminas seems to reflect Chekhov’s ‘scenes of rural life’ in secret false mirrors of otherness, and for this reason his performance turned out to be darkly eccentric. And you ask yourself: is it really that those on the stage are not ghosts of the country seat? Continue reading

Andrey Konchalovskiy – Belye nochi pochtalona Alekseya Tryapitsyna AKA The Postman’s White Nights (2014)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

The film represents life in a godforsaken Russian village. The only way to reach the mainland is to cross the lake by boat and a postman became the only connection with the outside world. A reserved community has been set up here. Despite the modern technologies and a spaceport nearby the people of the village live the way they would in the Neolithic Era. There is neither government nor social services or jobs. The postman’s beloved woman escapes the village life and moves to the city. Postman’s outboard engine gets stolen and he can no longer deliver mail. His normal pattern of life is disrupted. The postman makes a decision to leave for the city too but returns before long with no certain reason. The script is based on real characters’ stories. People from the village play their own parts in the film. The search for the protagonist lasted for over a year. Continue reading

Isaakas Fridbergas – Kukolka (1988)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Kukolka” tells the story of a young Russian gymnastics star who is forced to return to the life of an ordinary teenage girl after an injury prevents her from competing. As the film unfolds, the audience is drawn into the damaged psyche of the girl and the world that shaped her. The story is dark, intense, and ultimately disquieting; it draws you in, horrifies you, and keeps you thinking long after the superb finale. A film that is difficult to forget. Continue reading

Aleksandr Sokurov – Spasi i Sokhrani aka Save and Protect (1989)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
A retelling of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary as a surreal story of universal suffering, the film emphasizes the heroine’s internal transformation as she slowly loses her grip on reality. Her erotic fascination with rich clothing and her almost childish desire to seduce and to be lost in passion is brilliantly contrasted with the small-town life that leaves Emma tragically isolated in her passionate attempt to bridge the gap between spirituality and sensuality. Continue reading

Artour Aristakisian – Ladoni AKA Palms [+Extras] (1993)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Palms is Aristakisyan’s astonishing portrait of people who live on the margins of life and exist outside normal society. Profound, spiritual and hallucinatory, Palms is remarkable at every level and one of the most visionary films of recent years.

Narrated by the director addressing his unborn son, the film is compassionate, revelatory and bold in its originality and was awarded the NIKA (Russian Oscar) for Best Documentary in 1994. This is its first-ever release on DVD.

“I would like the film to answer the need for community – to show how people are tied together, sometimes paradoxically” Artur Aristakisyan

A short excerpt from the Booklet essay by Graeme Hobbs

Perhaps surprisingly for a film populated almost entirely with beggars, Palms has nothing to do with charity. Its real subject is proximity. In its relentless depiction of life at the margins and with its discomfiting jabs of authenticity, it is an affront to personal space. Why should this be so? Continue reading