Vitali Kanevsky – Zamri, umri, voskresni! AKA Freeze Die Come to Life (1990)

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“Freeze-Die-Come to Life,” a first film by Vitaly Kanevski, offers a stark look at growing up in the frozen wastes of the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. A largely autobiographical work, it is the sweetly grim story of a couple of street-smart kids in the mining town of Suchan. A Russian variation on India’s “Salaam Bombay,” the film both celebrates and buries youthful innocence.

An engaging pair of nonprofessionals, Pavel Nazarov and Dinara Drukarova, are Valerka and Galiya, playmates who manage a semblance of childhood despite their sorry circumstances. And they don’t make circumstances any sorrier than in Suchan, with its towering ash heaps and streets oozing raw sewage. Ragged and hungry, Valerka and Galiya sell hot tea, a ruble a cup, to the downcast miners, the one-legged veterans and the nickel-a-night whores. Continue reading

Sergei Solovyov – Chuzhaya belaya i ryaboy AKA The Stray White and the Speckled (1986)

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In a poor provincial town, the ragamuffin boys are frenziedly drilled for combat, and at nights the local elite, gathered in a pool room, boasts of fictitious biographies, while bands of boys amuse themselves with bloody fights on trashy vacant plots… One of the most vivid staples of the postwar childhood were pigeons. They could be bought, sold or stolen. One day a beautiful white dove appeared over the town. Risking his life, Ivan caught the White. And immediately became the target of the “pigeon” mafia… Continue reading

Kiyoshi Nishimura & Sergei Solovyov – Melodii beloy nochi AKA Melodies of a White Night (1977)

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Ilya, a Russian composer, played by Yury Solomin, meets a beautiful woman named Yuko, a Japanese pianist. The music they share makes them feel close to each other and fall in love. However, the long distance between the two countries and the difference of their lives constitute problems they need to consider. A very romantic story accompanied by enchanting musical pieces. Perfect for when you are in the mood for dreams and contemplation. Continue reading

Sergei Solovyov – Stantsionnyy smotritel AKA The Postmaster (1972)

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In May, 1816 narrator passes through a small station. At the station, Dunia, Beauty daughter of the superintendent, serves tea. On the walls of the room hang pictures of the story of the prodigal son. The narrator and the superintendent and his daughter together, drink tea, before leaving the stranger kisses Dunya in the hall (with her consent). A few years later, the narrator again falls on the same station. The superintendent is very old. When asked about his daughter, he does not respond, but after a glass of punch is talkative. He says that 3 years ago, a young hussar (Captain Minsky) spent several days at the station, pretending to be sick and bribing a doctor. Dunya nursed. Recovering, the captain is going on the road, called a lift Dunya to the church and drives her away. Having lost a daughter, aged father becomes ill from grief. Continue reading

Georgiy Daneliya – Ne goryuy! AKA Don’t Grieve (1969)

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Synopsis:
After graduating from St. Petersburg University, full of hopes and grand plans, returned to his native town of the young doctor Benjamin Glonti. But life as before his departure, is running its course: a growing family of sestritsy Sofiko, hard from morning till night rewrite the paper her husband, Luke, from time to time in the cellar down to “topple” bottle. And still, the elephant, without the case, “getting” all the counsel of Dodo. Benjamin became a lament for the failed life. And then, to correct the matter brother, Sofiko decided to marry his daughter to the old doctor … Continue reading

Aleksandr Gintsburg – Giperboloid inzhenera Garina AKA Engineer Garin’s Hyperboloid [+Extra] (1965)

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Synopsis:

The year is 1925. Professor Mantsev invents a weapon of a formidable destructive force never seen before – a hyperboloid that strikes dead with a beam… Engineer Garin steals this prototype of the modern laser gun, with the aim to use it for the realization of his insane idea of become the ruler of the world, with no inkling of the consequences that would be dangerous for him, too. A hunt for Garin and Mantsev’s dangerous invention begins… Continue reading

Valentina Brumberg & Zinaida Brumberg – Noch pered Rozhdestvom AKA The Night Before Christmas (1951)

From Wikipedia:

The Night Before Christmas (Russian: Ночь пе́ред Рождество́м, Noch pered Rozhdestvom) is a 1951 Soviet traditionally-animated feature film directed by the Brumberg sisters and produced by the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow. The film is based on Nikolai Gogol’s story The Night Before Christmas.

The animation features heavy use of rotoscoping, known as “Éclair” in the Soviet Union, and is an example of the Socialist-Realist period in Russian animation. Continue reading