USSR

Emil Loteanu – Moy laskovyy i nezhnyy zver AKA A Hunting Accident AKA The Shooting Party (1978)

There is a lot to admire in Emil Loteanu’s film My Tender and Affectionate Beast aka Moy laskovyy i nezhnyy zver (1978). First of all, the music by Evgeniy Doga, especially the Wedding Waltz, lives its own life, has become very popular and often performed piece in Russia, and is truly amazing. Camera work is very attractive, so are costumes, sets, and landscapes. Very famous and talented actors play principal characters. Among them -Oleg Yankovsky, the narrator, the tender beast of the title, Kirill Lavrov, a weak and corrupted count, and Georgiy Markov, the middle-aged widower who had hopes for new love with the girl of his dreams. Read More »

Andrey Konchalovskiy – Istoriya Asi Klyachinoy, kotoraya lyubila, da ne vyshla zamuzh AKA Asya’s Happiness (1966)

From Senses of Cinema:
Istoriya Asi Klyachinoy, kotoraya lyubila, da ne vyshla zamuzh (Asya’s Happiness) is a seminal film, a film that suffered numerous title changes and edits by edict. It is a rediscovered classic that was shelved for 20 years and now stands as a testament to the paranoid absurdity of Soviet censorship. It is a film that provided a powerful start for some careers and stunted others. With its natural lightness and exploration of femininity it broke the genre of the collective farm-worker movie and introduced a deeply Russian neo-realism that celebrated the rural, spiritual environment through stunning black-and-white cinematography and breathtakingly authentic performances by non-professional actors that captured the sounds, stories and pace of life in the village of Bezvodnoye. Read More »

Zagid Sabitov – Beregis, zmey! AKA Beware, Snakes! (1979)

featuring Andrey Tarkovsky in the script.

Quote:
An experienced detective managed to unravel a difficult matter, while exposing the criminals and perpetrators of the crime. Not far from the village there is an ancient fortress, called Kara-Tahir. It is the abode of silence, all kinds of secrets, and many snakes. No one disturbs her peace, except for one person, Mirzaev’s serpent. But it is there, in the fortress of Kara-Tahr, the thread of the crime. Read More »

Andrei Tarkovsky – Offret (1986)

The Sacrifice, director Andrei Tarkovsky’s final film, begins in Bergmanesque fashion on a small, remote island, where friends and family gather for drama critic Alexander’s (Erland Josephson) birthday celebration.

The revelry is interrupted by a radio announcement: World War III has begun, and Mankind is only hours away from utter annihilation. Each of the guests reacts differently to the news: the most dramatic response is Alexander’s, who promises God that he’ll give up everything he holds dear – including his beloved 6-year-old son – if war is averted. Allan Edwall, a local mailman with purported mystical powers, offers to intervene with the Creator on Josephson’s behalf. Read More »

Emil Loteanu – Tabor ukhodit v nebo AKA Gypsies Are Found Near Heaven (1976)

Rada, a beautiful and very proud gipsy girl is used to steal men’s hearts and monk them. Zobar is a horse thief who’s heart is stolen by Rada and his mind is bewitched. He is ready to give up his freedom but not his pride. Read More »

Aleksandr Gordon – Sergey Lazo (1968)

“A movie about the life and activities of the civil war hero Sergey Lazo (1894-1920), a poet, a publicist, a war strategist, a party activist, a diplomat fluent in several languages, a direct descendant of a noble Moldavian family, the son of a land-owner, a former student of the Moscow University and an officer of the tsarist army who determinately crossed over to the revolutionaries and headed the partisan movement during the struggle against the Japanese intervention in the Far East. At the age of 26 Lazo literally burnt in the revolutionary fire. The enemies threw him into the boiler of a steam locomotive and burnt him alive. Read More »

Shaken Ajmanov – Konets Atamana AKA Az atamán halála (1971)

featuring Andrey Konchalovskiy on the script
Quote:
[…]Andrei Konchalovsky had, together with Eduard Tropinin, written the script for The End of the Ataman, directed by the renowned Kazakh film-maker Shaken Ajmanov. The film dealt with the special task of the Red officer Chadiarov (played by Asanali Ashimov), who in 1921 has to kill the ataman Dutov,a collaborator with the Whites.Chadiarov discloses during this operation the spy in the Red headquarters in his Kazakh home town. In order to fulfill this task, Chadiarov, who is a Chinese prince, has to get himself arrested as a spy by the Soviet commander; then he escapes, crosses the border and sides with the ataman, who resides in China. Chadiarov fulfills the secret mission successfully, while its full scale and significance transpire only at the end of the film. In its use of cavalry chases, escapes and hide-outs in the steppe, this film is fully within the genre of the ‘Eastern’. Read More »