USSR

Ilya Kopalin – Sud Idyot AKA The Court is in Session (1943)

The world’s first trial against German war criminals took place in Kharkov in December 1943.
Trial opened 15th December – 18th December defendants were executed.

The film covers the trial of three Germans and one Russian:
Corporal of German Secret Field Police Reinhard Retzlaw.
Captain of the German Military Counter-Espionage Service Wilhelm Langheld.
SS Obersturmbannführer, Company Commander of the SD Sonderkommando Hans Ritz.
Collaborator, assitant to SD Sonderkommando, driver of the “gas van” Mikhail Bulanov. Read More »

Emil Loteanu – Moy laskovyy i nezhnyy zver AKA A Hunting Accident AKA The Shooting Party (1978)

There is a lot to admire in Emil Loteanu’s film My Tender and Affectionate Beast aka Moy laskovyy i nezhnyy zver (1978). First of all, the music by Evgeniy Doga, especially the Wedding Waltz, lives its own life, has become very popular and often performed piece in Russia, and is truly amazing. Camera work is very attractive, so are costumes, sets, and landscapes. Very famous and talented actors play principal characters. Among them -Oleg Yankovsky, the narrator, the tender beast of the title, Kirill Lavrov, a weak and corrupted count, and Georgiy Markov, the middle-aged widower who had hopes for new love with the girl of his dreams. Read More »

Andrey Konchalovskiy – Istoriya Asi Klyachinoy, kotoraya lyubila, da ne vyshla zamuzh AKA Asya’s Happiness (1966)

From Senses of Cinema:
Istoriya Asi Klyachinoy, kotoraya lyubila, da ne vyshla zamuzh (Asya’s Happiness) is a seminal film, a film that suffered numerous title changes and edits by edict. It is a rediscovered classic that was shelved for 20 years and now stands as a testament to the paranoid absurdity of Soviet censorship. It is a film that provided a powerful start for some careers and stunted others. With its natural lightness and exploration of femininity it broke the genre of the collective farm-worker movie and introduced a deeply Russian neo-realism that celebrated the rural, spiritual environment through stunning black-and-white cinematography and breathtakingly authentic performances by non-professional actors that captured the sounds, stories and pace of life in the village of Bezvodnoye. Read More »

Zagid Sabitov – Beregis, zmey! AKA Beware, Snakes! (1979)

featuring Andrey Tarkovsky in the script.

Quote:
An experienced detective managed to unravel a difficult matter, while exposing the criminals and perpetrators of the crime. Not far from the village there is an ancient fortress, called Kara-Tahir. It is the abode of silence, all kinds of secrets, and many snakes. No one disturbs her peace, except for one person, Mirzaev’s serpent. But it is there, in the fortress of Kara-Tahr, the thread of the crime. Read More »

Andrei Tarkovsky – Offret (1986)

The Sacrifice, director Andrei Tarkovsky’s final film, begins in Bergmanesque fashion on a small, remote island, where friends and family gather for drama critic Alexander’s (Erland Josephson) birthday celebration.

The revelry is interrupted by a radio announcement: World War III has begun, and Mankind is only hours away from utter annihilation. Each of the guests reacts differently to the news: the most dramatic response is Alexander’s, who promises God that he’ll give up everything he holds dear – including his beloved 6-year-old son – if war is averted. Allan Edwall, a local mailman with purported mystical powers, offers to intervene with the Creator on Josephson’s behalf. Read More »

Emil Loteanu – Tabor ukhodit v nebo AKA Gypsies Are Found Near Heaven (1976)

Rada, a beautiful and very proud gipsy girl is used to steal men’s hearts and monk them. Zobar is a horse thief who’s heart is stolen by Rada and his mind is bewitched. He is ready to give up his freedom but not his pride. Read More »

Aleksandr Gordon – Sergey Lazo (1968)

“A movie about the life and activities of the civil war hero Sergey Lazo (1894-1920), a poet, a publicist, a war strategist, a party activist, a diplomat fluent in several languages, a direct descendant of a noble Moldavian family, the son of a land-owner, a former student of the Moscow University and an officer of the tsarist army who determinately crossed over to the revolutionaries and headed the partisan movement during the struggle against the Japanese intervention in the Far East. At the age of 26 Lazo literally burnt in the revolutionary fire. The enemies threw him into the boiler of a steam locomotive and burnt him alive. Read More »