Ukraine

Sergei Loznitsa – V tumane AKA In the Fog (2012)

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Western frontiers of the USSR, 1942. The region is under German occupation, and local partisans are fighting a brutal resistance campaign. A train is derailed not far from the village, where Sushenya, a rail worker, lives with his family. Innocent Sushenya is arrested with a group of saboteurs, but the German officer makes a decision not to hang him with the others and sets him free. Rumours of Sushenya’s treason spread quickly, and partisans Burov and Voitik arrive from the forest to get revenge. As the partisans lead their victim through the forest, they are ambushed, and Sushenya finds himself one-to-one with his wounded enemy. Deep in an ancient forest, where there are neither friends nor enemies, and where the line between treason and heroism disappears, Sushenya is forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances. —In The Fog official website Read More »

Oles Sanin – Mamay (2003)

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Mamay draws on traditional Ukranian and Tatar folktales for its Romeo and Juliet-like love story and parable about chivalry and the struggle for freedom. Hundreds of years ago, in the wild steppes of Crimea that form an uneasy border between East and West, Europe and Asia, nomad and farmer, the proud Cossack Mamay falls in love with the Tatar beauty Omai. The title, like the storyline, holds a variety of different meanings taken from different cultures. In Turkic languages, it means “no one,” but it was also the name of a famous Mongol conqueror, the great grandson of Ghengis-Khan. In Persian legends, mamay literally means “the spirit of the steppes”. Read More »

Sergei Loznitsa – Schastye moe AKA My Joy (2010)

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“My Joy” is a tale of truck driver Georgy. Georgy leaves his home town with a load of goods, but he is forced to take a wrong turning on the motorway, and finds himself in the middle of nowhere. Georgy tries to find his way, but gradually, against his will, he becomes drawn in the daily life of a Russian village. In a place, where brutal force and survival instincts overcome humanity and common
sense, the truck driver’s story heads for a dead end… Read More »

Sergei Parajanov – Kiev Frescos (1966)

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A lyrical portrait of life in a contemporary Armenian village following the devastation of an earthquake and the fall of communism.

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Kievski Freski Dir Sergei Paradjanov (Kiev Frescos) 1966. 35mm. 13 mins
Paradjanov assembled this “film collage” from the rushes and tests that remained unscathed after the Soviet authorities halted the production of Kiev Frescos and ordered the negative to be destroyed.

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When the Soviet authorities were imposing on a multi-national country the artificial conception of a “homogeneous Soviet people”, Paradjanov was defending those nations’ very diversity and uniqueness. Through films and documentaries (both by Paradjanov and others), this programme attempts to trace Paradjanov’s creative journeys through Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia.

Soon after the Soviet authorities stopped the shooting of Kiev Frescos (Kievski Freski) in 1966, Sergei Paradjanov left Dovchenko film studios in Kiev for Armenfilm in Yerevan. There he started work on a feature length homage to Sayat Nova, the pseudonym of the Haroutine Sayadian (Tblissi, 1712 – 1795), an Armenian poet and bard, who wrote in Armenian, Georgian and Azerbaijani. Read More »

Kira Muratova – Lyst do Ameryky AKA Letter To America (1999)

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Description: The short is made in a typical Muratova style that merges surrealism and reality into a mesmerizing act full of understatement and metaphor.

Some trivia: this is nominally Muratova’s first short. However, she herself considers it her fourth – she prefers to think of her Three Stories as three short films instead of a single feature.

The film was made with no budget whatsoever – all Muratova was given were the camera and the film stock. None of the actors were paid. The rumor has it that the film was shot in Muratova’s own apartment. Read More »