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

Vsevolod Pudovkin – Mat AKA Mother (1926)

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The son of a worthless alcoholic father and a hardworking mother leads
an illegal strike during the failed 1905 uprising. In an attempt to save
her son, the mother inadvertently gives him away to the police, but
gradually turns to communism after experiencing injustice and suffering.

Pudovkin’s first feature turns Maxim Gorky’s rambling novel into a
tightly constructed narrative. The film’s emotional and visual impact
has not diminished with time, nor has Baranovskaya’s
performance. – Holt’s Foreign Film Guide. Continue reading

Mikhail Kalatozov – Jim Shvante (marili svanets) AKA Salt For Svanetia (1930)

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Quote:
The Georgian-born filmmaker Michail Kalatozov (19031973) is best remembered for directing some of the most innovative and successful Soviet films of the 1950s and 1960s. This DVD presents digitally restored versions of two of his lesser-known, early works, which were highly controversial in their time but now rank among the finest achievements in Soviet silent cinema. Salt for Svanetia is an austere depiction of peasant life in the inhospitable terrain of the Caucasus Mountains. Nail in the Boot, a biting parable of wartime irresponsibility, chillingly prefigures the later Stalinist purge trials. Günter Buchwald’s and Stephen Horne’s prize-winning scores and the experimental accompaniment by Masha Khotimshi underline the poetic and expressive visual style of these exceptional masterpieces. Continue reading

Vsevolod Pudovkin – Dezertir AKA The Deserter (1933)

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Synopsis:
In 1929, four years before making this film, Vsevolod Pudovkin and Sergei Eisenstein had collaborated on a Sound Manifesto that called for a radical use of asynchronous sound effects, which would be used in counterpoint to the screen image, rather than supporting it, as is normally the case. In DESERTER, Pudovkin put this theory into practice.

Starring Boris Livanov as German dockworker Karl Renn, the film focuses upon a politically unconscious figure who learns the error of his ways. Renn becomes involved in picketing and demonstrating on the dock but walks out on his comrades one day, doubtful about the value of this kind of political activity. Continue reading

Mikhail Kalatozov – Letyat zhuravli AKA The Crane’s are Flying (1957)

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Veronica and Boris are walking in the streets of Moscow and they love each other. Veronica is laughing, cause they are happy together this morning. They see some cranes in the sky. When arriving to Veronica’s house they talk about a rendezvous at the bank of the river. And the 2nd World War begins in Moscow. Boris works in a factory and he hasn’t got time to speak with Veronica. He has to go to the war … Continue reading