USSR

Nikita Mikhalkov – Raba lyubvi AKA A Slave of Love (1976)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson (from allmovie.com)

Nikita Mikhalkov examines the plight of the filmmaker operating in an uncertain political climate in his irony-laden seriocomedy Slave of Love. The time is 1918, at the height of the Bolshevik revolution. A small group of filmmakers are hurriedly trying to complete a silent melodrama while the world changes all around them. As production progresses, leading lady Elena Solovei metamorphoses from self-centered movie star to committed revolutionary. Normally described as “Chekhovian,” director Mikhalkov borrows a few pages from Pirandello. With Slave of Love he gained his first serious international attention.
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Nikita Mikhalkov – Neskolko dney iz zhizni I.I. Oblomova AKA A Few Days in the Life of I.I. Oblomov (1979)

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Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov takes a break from emulating his beloved Chekhov to film the classic Ivan Goncharov novel Oblomov. The title character (played by Oleg Tabakov) is a 19th century Russian civil servant and landlord who chooses to go to bed one day–and never get up. Preferring to sleep his way through life rather than confront it, Oblomov is shaken from his slumbers by the arrival of a childhood friend Shtoltz. A series of flashbacks show why it is that this friend’s presence gets Oblomov out of his ‘jammies and back on his feet. Also known as A Few Days in the Life of I. I. Oblomov, this sprightly film is an excellent early example of the work of the director who would win a 1994 Oscar for his Burnt by the Sun. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
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Tengiz Abuladze – Natvris khe aka The Wishing Tree (1976)

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Clarke Fountain @ allmovie wrote:
Poetry, vivid imagery and allegory mark the nearly two-dozen episodes of this epic tale about human life and its troubles, set in the Georgian village of Kachetien near the turn of the century. Many vividly drawn and eccentric village characters are portrayed, from simpletons to fortune-tellers, and their dreams reveal what each would consider to be happiness in this life. The well-regarded director of this film, Tengiz Abuladze, was known for his visually sophisticated and symbolically rich works. The Wishing Tree is the second film in a Georgian trilogy by Abuladze: the first, released in 1969, was Encounter, about the primitivist artist Nikos Piosmani the last, released in 1987, is known as Repentance. Read More »

Yakov Protazanov – Don Diego i Pelageya aka Don Diego and Pelageya (1928)

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Careless and merciless bureaucratic machine turns a case of 80 year old peasant Pelageya Demina about crossing a railroad in a wrong place into criminal offense. Her oldman seeking help to get her out of jail. Read More »

Yakov Protazanov – Sorok pervyy AKA The Forty-First (1927)

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The Forty-First, Boris Lavrenyev’s novella, written in only two days, has proven enduringly popular. It tells the story of a young woman snarpshooter fighting with the Reds in Turkestan. She misses her forty-first victim, a handsome White lieutenant, and ends up escorting him, by boat, into captivity across the Aral Sea. A storm, however, strands the two on an island. Sick with pneumonia, the lieutenant is nursed back to health by his Red escort, and the two fall in love. At the last, however, Mariutka shoots him dead when he tries to escape, thus making him “the forty-first.”
Sorok pervyy had been filmed as a silent, from the author’s own script, by Yakov Protazanov in 1927.
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Vasili Shukshin – Kalina krasnaya AKA The Red Snowball Tree (1973)

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Quote:

Drama of a man who tried to live a new life. Yegor Prokudin (Vasili Shukshin) is a child of a street who grew up in a criminal gang. While he was free, he did not lose his innocent, joyful heart, but many years in prison have taken away his joy in living. The film opens on the occasion of his release from prison. Soon, he discovers love with a village peasant girl, Lyuba (Lidia Fedoseeva-Shukshina), who was lettering him in jail and restores his will to live and fills him with an enthusiasm for rural life. There are dark shadows on his way for better being – his past and his old mother he never visited from childhood times. (Actually, the scene where Lyuba talks to his mother was shooted with non-acting old village women) Their idyll is short-lived, as his former associates will not leave him alone.
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Yakov Protazanov – Aelita (Аэлита) AKA Revolt of the Robots (1924)

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Directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made on Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924. It was based on Alexei Tolstoy’s novel of the same name.

AllMovie wrote:
The Marxist struggle reaches outer space in this fanciful Russian science fiction film from the silent period. Los (Nikolai Tsereteli) is an engineer who dreams of traveling to other worlds and imagines that a beautiful woman named Aelita (Yuliya Solntseva) lives on the planet Mars. Frustrated with the petty political conflicts that are a big part of life on Earth, Los builds a spaceship and travels to Mars, where he discovers that the lovely Aelita really does exist and is Queen of the Planet. However, the realities of political struggle do not escape him; it seems that the Martian proletariat are attempting to rise up and take power just as the Russian rank and file did, and Los once again finds himself standing between the ruling leadership and the workers attempting to take control of their own lives.
4/5
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