Vsevolod Pudovkin – Konets Sankt-Peterburga AKA The End of St. Petersburg (1927)

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Filmed to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution, End of St. Petersburg was the second feature-length effort of director V. I. Pudovkin. Utilizing many of the montage techniques popularized by his contemporary Sergei Eisenstein, Pudovkin details the fall of St. Petersburg into the hands of the Bolsheviks during the revolution. Unlike Eisenstein, Pudovkin concentrates on individuals rather than groups (his protagonist is a politically awakened peasant played by Ivan Chuvelyov) humanizing what might otherwise have been a prosaic historical piece. The mob scenes, though obviously staged for ultimate dramatic impact, are so persuasive that they have frequently been excerpted for documentaries about the Russian Revolution, and accepted by some impressionable viewers as the real thing. Filmed just after his 1926 masterwork Mother, The End of St. Petersburg was followed by the equally brilliant Storm Over Asia.- allmovie.com
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Mikhail Kalatozov – Neotpravlennoye pismo aka The Letter Never Sent (1960) (HD)

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Quote:
After months of searching, four devoted geologists unearth diamonds in Bolshaya Zemlya. Subsequently cut off from the outside world – and their food supply – by a raging forest fire, the team fights for their lives while attempting to pass along the location of the priceless cache. Continue reading

Marlen Khutsiyev – Iyulskiy dozhd AKA July Rain (1966)

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This is the one-film Soviet New Wave. A unique blend of idealism and realism, heavily influenced by Antonioni, nothing like it was ever again achieved – or attempted – in the Soviet cinema as far as I know. The virtually plotless story of a young unmarried couple’s involvement and eventual break-up is told as a series of finely-observed episodes which together form almost an encyclopedia of the time and the place. Among other things, it is a priceless portrait of a somewhat fantastic city which no longer exists. Continue reading

Pavel Arsyonov – Lilovyy Shar AKA The Purple Ball (1987)

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Plot
Alisa Seleznyova and her father professor Seleznyov are traveling in space. They meet their old friend archaeologist Gromozeka, who’s just discovered a planet all inhabitants of which died. It became known that they discovered a virus of hostility, got infected and killed each other. Gromozeka also discovered that they had left the virus on Earth 26000 years ago, and the virus is about to become loose. The only chance to save the Earth is to travel 26000 years back in time – to the epoch when witches, dragons and magicians lived along with usual people. Continue reading

Yakov Protazanov – Pikovaya dama AKA The Queen of Spades (1916)

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Already in the early years of Russian cinema Protazanov’s name was a hallmark of artistic excellence. “The Queen of Spades” is a brilliant example of his extraordinary talent. The film has not only a first-rate story and ingenious Mozzhukhin’s performance, but also all the tricks that were available to filmmakers in 1916. The use of crosscutting in the film is quite sophisticated for the time; superimposition is yet another important device; and the use of flashbacks here is very effective. Unlike most pictures of that time “The Queen of Spades” made a genuine contribution to the evolution of Russian film art. I think it would be great if more people see one of the best pre-revolutionary Russian films.

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