Based on story by Ivan Shmelev.
The movie action starts very close before February democratic revolution in Russia in 1917.
Fate is cruel to waiter of capital city restaurant Skorohodov: his son dies on front, his wife perishes from grief, his daughter is excluded from grammar school because of lack of money to pay tuition.
Skorohodov decides to rent one of rooms in his poor apartment to a decent young man named Sokolin who is working as a courier in war industry committee .
The lodger and a girl fall in love with each other and soon decide to get married.
In meantime the father appoints his daughter as a violiinist in restaurant orchestra.
But rich factory owner Karasev rudely molests young blonde violinist and through blackmail expects to make her his mistress.
This ambitious 1979 Russian film attempts no less a feat than the encapsulation of the tumultuous history of Russia in the 20th century. Written and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky (Runaway Train, Tango and Cash), the film weaves an engrossing tale of three generations of two Russian families in the remote region of Siberia, each trying in their own way to find fulfillment in their lives as they seek to reconcile themselves with the ever-changing landscape of their homeland. Sandwiched between the chaotic events of the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Russian Revolution of 1917, the people of the small village find themselves at the cusp of great changes, from communications to the expanding infrastructure and the changes that brings, to the discovery of oil and the riches and perils that come with it. Konchalovsky juxtaposes archival footage with stunning cinematography and contrasts the assaultive changes of the modern world with the timeless impulses of family and the enduring need to adapt and survive. Reminiscent of such great films as Giant and 1900, Siberiade is a visually adept and stunningly effective epic about the price of a country’s history on its people. –Robert Lane
Morning of a silent provincial small town. The sleepy city is exposed silent to capture alien a landing. Newcomers are installed in people, destroying the person and subordinating a body to the new carrier. It is last fantastic film made in the USSR. 1990 – last year before disintegration of the Union.
Richard Harris stars as a foreign entrepreneur, who ventures to Russia in 1885 with dreams of selling a new, experimental steam-driven timber harvester in the wilds of Siberia. Julia Ormond portrays his assistant, who falls in love with a young Russian officer, played by Russian star Oleg Menshikov, and spends the next 10 years perfecting the harvester and pursuing her love, who has been exiled to Siberia.
Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson (from allmovie.com)
Nikita Mikhalkov examines the plight of the filmmaker operating in an uncertain political climate in his irony-laden seriocomedy Slave of Love. The time is 1918, at the height of the Bolshevik revolution. A small group of filmmakers are hurriedly trying to complete a silent melodrama while the world changes all around them. As production progresses, leading lady Elena Solovei metamorphoses from self-centered movie star to committed revolutionary. Normally described as “Chekhovian,” director Mikhalkov borrows a few pages from Pirandello. With Slave of Love he gained his first serious international attention.
Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov takes a break from emulating his beloved Chekhov to film the classic Ivan Goncharov novel Oblomov. The title character (played by Oleg Tabakov) is a 19th century Russian civil servant and landlord who chooses to go to bed one day–and never get up. Preferring to sleep his way through life rather than confront it, Oblomov is shaken from his slumbers by the arrival of a childhood friend Shtoltz. A series of flashbacks show why it is that this friend’s presence gets Oblomov out of his ‘jammies and back on his feet. Also known as A Few Days in the Life of I. I. Oblomov, this sprightly film is an excellent early example of the work of the director who would win a 1994 Oscar for his Burnt by the Sun. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Repentance (Pokayaniye) features Avtandil Makharadze in a dual role. As Georgian mayor Varlam Aravidze, Makharadze is a strutting, arbitrarily cruel dictator, something of a composite Stalin and Hitler. Visually he very closely resembles Lavrentiy Beriya, Stalin’s right hander and one-time KGB chief. As Abel, the mayor’s son, Makharadze finds himself in the middle of an ideological squabble when his father dies. Zeinab Botsvadze, a local woman who had suffered mightily under the mayor’s regime, refuses to allow the old man’s corpse to be interred. Despite the son’s Herculean efforts, Botsvadze continues digging up the late mayor’s body, a symbolic gesture to prevent the dead man’s villainy from being forgotten. Repentance was the first Soviet film that openly denounced the horrors of Stalinism, though the Georgian director Tengiz Abuladze (known for his poetic and surrealist films) chose to make it allegorical, deliberately using anachronisms and making the leading character look like a combination of Stalin’s henchman Lavrenti Beriya, Hitler, and Mussolini. An interesting point — the last name chosen for the leading character is totally fictional, there is no such name as Aravidze in Georgia. In fact, “aravi” means “nobody” in Georgian. The filmmakers opted for such a name in order not to offend any real person in the Republic of Georgia. Filmed in 1984, Repentance fell victim to Soviet censorship from the moment it left the editing room. When it was finally released in 1987, the film was deservedly garlanded with several awards, including the Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Prize.
ial turn this film into a searing allegory of the brutal repressions, and heroic sacrifices, of the country’s Stalinist era—–by Hal Erickson Continue reading