USSR

Yakov Bliokh – Shanhkayskiy dokument AKA The Shanghai Document (1928)

The Shanghai Document is an early documentary film. This silent film was directed by Yakov Bliokh (1895-1957) and was released in the USSR in 1928. The film portrays Shanghai, China in the early 1920s. It shows the contrasts between the world of Western expatriates (including Britons, Americans, New Zealanders, Australians, and Danes) who live in the luxurious Shanghai International Settlement, and that of the Shanghainese inhabitants, who spend their days laboring. The events which inspired the film revolve around the Chinese nationalist revolution (1925-27), including the May Thirtieth Movement, and the First United Front of the Chinese Communist Party, and the Nationalists (the Kuomintang), and its collapse in February 1927 when Chiang Kai-shek ordered a purge of the Communists in Shanghai and in other cities held by the revolutionaries. Read More »

Grigoriy Kozintsev & Leonid Trauberg – Shinel AKA The Overcoat (1926)

The Overcoat is a 1926 Soviet film directed by Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg, based on Nikolai Gogol stories Nevsky Prospekt and The Overcoat.

A young clerk, disappointed in love in early life passes his life in paper work. He centres his interests in a new overcoat but is robbed and assaulted on the way home. He gets sick and dies. Read More »

Oles Yanchuk – Holod-33 AKA Famine-33 (1991)

Quote:
The film depicts the 1932-33 Soviet-engineered famine in Ukraine, and is based on the novel The Yellow Prince by Vasyl Barka.

Emanuel Levy writes in his blog (edited for spoilers): “Through the eyes of Katrannyk, his wife Kateryna, and their three children, pic shows the devastating effects of the mass famine caused by the state’s seizure of crops. It forcefully chronicles the brutality of Stalin’s army, their raids on fields and physical torture of farmers. Death is everywhere: the ground is covered with bodies; desolate farmers hang themselves on trees. Read More »

Tatyana Lioznova – Semnadtsat mgnoveniy vesny AKA Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973)

A 1973 Soviet twelve-part television series, directed by Tatyana Lioznova and based on the novel of the same title by Yulian Semyonov. The series portrays the exploits of Maxim Isaev, a Soviet spy operating in Nazi Germany under the name Max Otto von Stierlitz, depicted by Vyacheslav Tikhonov. Stierlitz is tasked with disrupting the negotiations between Karl Wolff and Allen Dulles taking place in Switzerland, aimed at forging a separate peace between Germany and the Western Allies. The series is considered the most successful Soviet espionage thriller ever made, and is one of the most popular television series in Russian history. Read More »

Samson Samsonov – Ognennye versty aka Miles of Fire (1958)

Quote:
“MILES OF FIRE,” which opened Saturday at the Cameo, is decidedly not one of the better Soviet-made imports. It should have been, considering all the zing, the picturesqueness and, especially lately, the human cameos the alert Russians have been applying to their war dramas.

This Mosfilm Production, in particular, should at least have streaked like the wind in describing how a few carriage-borne Bolshevik civilians and soldiers race to a friendly town through the enemy-held countryside. But, generally, it jogs. Read More »

Sergei Yutkevich – Syuzhet dlya nebolshogo rasskaza AKA Subject for a Short Story (1969)

The life and love of Anton P. Chekhov at the crucial point when Чайка (Seagull) is to be premiered in St. Petersburg. The French and sometimes Russian title points the relation with Lika Mizinova, inspiration for the main character of the play. Read More »

Sergei Yutkevich – Otello (1955)

The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.

Review by The Little Songbird @IMDb:
I have always loved the poetry and intensity of Shakespeare’s dialogue in Othello, and I have also found the play one of his more dramatically concise ones. This Othello from Russia is excellent, and very interesting as well. It is handsome to look at, the photography flows nicely and the locations are splendid. The symbolic palette to emphasise Othello’s contrasts between physical and temperamental is also interestingly used. The film is smartly written and intelligently adapted and it is directed beautifully by Sergei Yutkevitch. Read More »