USSR

Larisa Shepitko – Ty i ya AKA You and Me (1971)

Synopsis:
Peter, a former medical scientist, suddenly quits his cushy job as a doctor at the Russian Embassy in Sweden and returns to Moscow. 3 years ago his team stood on the threshold of a vital break-through in neurosurgery, but the experimental work was cut short when Peter left for Stockholm. Peter tries to pick up the threads of his old life, fails and runs still further away, to a small town in Northern Russia where he takes a job as a district doctor. But the past would not relinquish its hold on him even there. Read More »

Boris Barnet – Podvig razvedchika aka Secrets of Counter-Espionage (1947)

Quote:
Soviet agent Fedotov is air-dropped into Nazi occupied land. He changes over into Mr. Eckert, a German entrepreneur wishing to take advantage of eastern worker slave labor in occupied Ukraine. Eckert (Fedotov) enters into a partnership with a German entrepreneur whose son, Willy, is a high ranking Nazi. Together they go to Vinnitsa, Ukraine and start a factory. Fedotov begins seeking contacts with headquarters, but faces problems when a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator manages to infiltrate the Soviet partisans. Read More »

Boris Barnet – Shchedroe leto AKA A Bountiful Summer (1951)

Quote:
Oksana Podpruzhenko, a beautiful brigadeer, a “heroin of the kolkhoz fields”, returns from Moscow where she has been awarded a medal for her work achievements. At the station she is met by a cheering mob of fellow townspeople, headed by Nazar, her boyfriend and director of the kolkhoz. Her idyll, however, is ruined with the arrival of Petro, who has returned from war to his native country… Read More »

Boris Barnet – Staryy naezdnik AKA The Old Rider (1940)

Quote:
A well-known rider, Trofimov, goes on taking part in races in spite of the advanced age. After an humiliating race, he realizes his time has gone, decides to marry and to invite his niece from the kolkhoze and village where he once lived. Read More »

Vsevolod Pudovkin – Potomok Chingis-Khana aka Storm Over Asia (1928)

In 1918 a simple Mongol herdsman escapes to the hills after brawling with a western capitalist fur trader who cheats him. In 1920 he helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the occupying army. However he is captured when the army tries to requisition cattle from the herdsmen at the same time as the commandant meets with the reincarnated Grand Lama. After being shot, the army discovers an amulet that suggests he was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. They find him still alive, so the army restores his health and plans to use him as the head of a Mongolian puppet regime. Read More »

Mikhail Bogin – Dvoe AKA Two In Love (1965)

Quote:
Dvoe aka Two aka Two in Love (Mikhail Bogin, 1965)

(confusingly, the NY Times reviewer cited below refers to this as A Ballad of Love, the English title commonly given not to this but to Bogin’s second film, O lyubvi)

A young musician courts a beautiful woman who refuses to respond to a word he says despite multiple encounters. Eventually he learns that she is completely deaf. The remainder of the film consists of their beautiful — and beautifully silent — romance. Read More »

Saulius Berzinis – Veliava is plytu AKA The Brick Flag (1988)

It’s a documentary about Soviet army private Arturas Sakalauskas who, having grown tired of constant humiliation, shot his fellow soldiers in a train carriage in February 1987. Even though the film traces the tragic event, the psychological portrait of the defendant is placed at the centre. By looking intently inside the young man, the director poses a question, what had actually happened that such a fatal, life-changing decision was made. Read More »