USSR

Mikhail Slutsky – Imeni Lenina aka In the Name of Lenin (1932)

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In the Name of Lenin is a 14 minute single subject ‘short’ (rather than a newsreel) produced by Soyuzkinozhurnal in 1932. It was directed by Mikhail Slutskii, a member of the new ‘Stalinist’ generation of film-makers, who had only recently graduated from film school in Moscow. Read More »

Sergei M. Eisenstein – Bronenosets Potyomkin aka The battleship Potemkin (1925)

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Marie Seton wrote:
When he made Potemkin in 1925, Sergei Eisenstein was not only a man with his total personality dedicated to creative work — albeit a creative work aimed at destroying all orthodox concepts of ‘art’ — but he was also a revolutionary fighter, a propagandist for the Russian Revolution. Thus, his work had a utilitarian purpose as well as an artistic one. He was educator and artist. At its most obvious level, Potemkin was regarded as propaganda for the Revolution; at a deeper level it was a highly complex work of art which Eisenstein thought would affect every man who beheld it, from the humblest to the most learned. Read More »

Konstantin Lopushansky – Pisma myortvogo cheloveka AKA Letters from a Dead Man (1986)

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Quote:
Letters from a Dead Man is another film that deals with the theme of the nuclear nightmare. It falls into a mini-genre of nuclear holocaust film along with others such as On the Beach (1959), Dr Strangelove or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Fail-Safe (1964), The War Game (1965) et al. But what makes Letters from a Dead Man unique in this case is that the treatment is one that comes from the opposite side of the Iron Curtain. Every single other treatment of the nuclear holocaust theme was made in the West and comes based on the speculation (or at least implication) of what would happen if the bombs falling were coming from the Soviet side; this is one which shows everything from the other perspective. In both cases though, the films are almost identical in their treatment of the subject matter and are certainly agreed upon what an horrific experience the nuclear holocaust would be. Letters perhaps comes without the sentimentalized approach of other contemporary views of the holocaust, as shown in The Day After (1983) and Testament (1983), which related the horrors to the effect on Middle America and the destruction of the family unit. Rather Letters comes closer to the celebrated pseudo-documentary The War Game in its almost unimaginably bleak depiction of the grim reality of a nuclear blast. Even more so it is most surprising to see a pre– i>glasnost film that comes from the heavily state-censored Soviet Union and yet manages to be so outspoken against the arms race and moreover rule by military. Read More »

Leonid Gayday – 12 Stulyev AKA Twelve Chairs (1971)

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Synopsis From Taste of Cinema
This film serves as an adaptation of the classic novel. Unlike so many films listed, it didn’t have a revolutionary effect in the film industry, nor did it criticize the Soviet Union. It has no special effect or imagery, but it is one of those films we love so much. The reason why this adaptation is so peculiar and differs from others is the main actor – Archil Gomiashvili, the man with amazing charisma and sense of humor.

One can even say that Gomiashvili wasn’t even acting as Ostap Bender, he was Ostap Bender. When we say Ostap Bender in post-soviet countries, the face of Gomiashvili istantly pops up. If you want to see a funny comedy which will leave you smiling even two hours after watching the film, then Twelve Chairs is the one.
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Leonid Ejdlin & Sergei Yutkevich – Lenin v Parizhe AKA Lenin in Paris (1981)

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Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin spent four years in Paris (1909–1912), and this historical docudrama explores those years with a certain amount of humor. Lenin is shown visiting with friends, the meetings with his later mistress Inessa Armand (in the movie she is in love with a young communist, Trofimoff), while several of his philosophical views and economic and political theories are mouthed by a former colleague who narrates the film and brings the material into the present. Read More »

Irina Poplavskaya & Sergei Yutkevich – Dzhamilya AKA Jamilya (1969)

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The film is based on the story of the same name by Soviet writer Chinghiz Aitmatov. It is set in a remote Kirghiz village during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). A young wife of a soldier, Djamilya, fell in love with Daniar, a wounded war veteran living in her village. Daniar reciprocates her feelings. But suddenly Djamilya receives a letter from her husband with the news of his forthcoming return from the hospital. This forces the lovers to make a final decision. Years later, their young friend, Seid, who was a witness to their beautiful, albeit uneasy, love, reminisces about this wonderful couple… Read More »

Yuriy Norshteyn – Yozhik v tumane aka Hedgehog in the fog (1975)

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Ёжик в тумане

Hedgehog is on his way to visit Bear cub,
to sit and count the stars, their nightly ritual. Read More »