USSR

Andrei Tarkovsky – Sculpting in Time (1989)

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This extraordinary book is not just about filmmaking, it’s about all art…about life, faith, inner exploration and the Russian soul. It contains exquisite poetry, mostly written by his father, Arseniy Tarkovsky, and detailed descriptions of the making of several of his films as well as photos of them that are eerie, mystical, and incredibly beautiful. Tarkovsky is the master of making us see the wonder of creation in the most mundane subjects. He brings us one step closer in our journey towards the light. From page 43: “The allotted function of art is not, as is often assumed, to put across ideas, to propagate thoughts, to serve as an example. The aim of art is to prepare a person for death, to plough and harrow his soul, rendering it capable of turning to good”. Read More »

Abram Room – Tretya Meshchanskaya AKA Bed And Sofa (1927)

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A married couple have a small apartment in Moscow. When an old friend of the husband’s arrives in the city, he is unable to find lodgings. Kolia, the husband, invites his friend to move in with them. While Kolia is away on business, sensual Liuda and attractive Volodia fall in love and have an affair. After his initial outrage, the husband calms down. Kolia winds up on the sofa, and the three settle into a menage-a-trois until the wife finds herself pregnant. The two men are trying to decide what to do, but Liuda is strong enough to make her own decisions. Considered a landmark film because of humor, naturalism, and its sympathetic portrayal of the woman. Read More »

Sergei Yutkevich – Lenin v Polshe AKA Lenin in Poland (1966)

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From wikipedia:
Lenin in Poland (Russian: Ленин в Польше, translit. Lenin v Polshe) is a 1966 Soviet drama film directed by Sergei Yutkevich. Yutkevich won the award for Best Director at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.

From Moscow international FIlm Festival:
Historical war movie about the events of the first world war in August 1914, when Lenin was in POLAND(at a place called Poronino, the Polish Carpathian mountains). It was there, on the former Austro-Hungarian territory, that the future leader was thrown in prison as a subject of the enemy state. The authors of the movie give the viewer a chance to follow the main character’s train of thought, to compare the foresight and the reality. Read More »

Kira Muratova – Astenicheskiy sindrom AKA Asthenic Syndrome (1989)

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In the old days it was called hypochrondria, or black melancholia. Now, apparently, it’s termed the Asthenic Syndrome. Whatever it is, Nikolai, a teacher of epicly indifferent pupils, has got it, and it’s not much fun. Worse yet, quite a few other people, even an entire society, seem to be afflicted with the same problem writ extremely large… Written by L.H. Wong Read More »

Kira Muratova – Dolgie provody AKA A Long Goodbye (1971)

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It is a great film by a great director.Kira Muratova has never been given her due in the Soviet and post-Soviet Russia.In the “Long Good Bye” she depicts a seemingly banal story of a jealous and possessive mother (brilliantly acted by Zinaida Sharko) and her poor aloof and lonely son (the only cinematic role by the talented O. Vladimirsky). The story – which is nothing extraordinary in itself – grows into the wonderful and frightening analysis of alienation between genders and generations on the background of the even more frighteningly bleak and dehumanized Soviet reality.Kira Muratova shows the tiny details of everyday Soviet life,and, again , banal as they are ,they are a hair-raising horror.The dialogue is deliberately laconic and void of any sense, showing the ever-growing people’s inability to communicate and understand each other.The sound track ( by another under-estimated talent, Oleg Karavaichuk)adds to the atmosphere of hopeless and meaningless existence.Of course,Sasha (the name of the protagonist),will leave his despotic ( but loving!) mother sooner or later, but where for? (c) Author: drbagrov from Taiwan Read More »

Ideya Garanina – Koshka, kotoraya gulyala sama po sebe AKA The Cat Who Walked by Herself (1988)


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Virtually unknown nowadays, even in its home country of Russia, The Cat Who Walked by Herself is an endearing children’s film directed by Ideya Garanina and produced at the Soyuzmultfilm studio. It is based upon Rudyard Kipling’s short story “The Cat that Walked by Himself,” which was first published in 1902. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the film uses a variety of animation techniques, including puppetry, stop motion and traditional animation, blending it all into an interesting tale of the origin of the civilised human and his millenia-long partnership with several species of domesticated animal. The story is narrated by a seemingly omniscient cat, who reminds a young child of an agreement struck long ago by the Cat and the Woman. The voice of the feline (whom, having absolutely no knowledge of Russian, I have been unable to identify) is a brilliant narrator, her voice at once carrying a sense of quiet arrogance, pride, dignity and everlasting knowledge. Read More »

Aleksandr Andriyevsky – Gibel sensatsii aka Loss of Feeling (1935)

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This Russian sci-fi film, an adaptation of the Czech classic novel that gave the world the term “robot,” tells the tale of an idealistic inventor who designs strong and intelligent robots to do human work. Unfortunately, the machines are utterly soulless. When factory bosses begin attempting to replace all people with the new robots, the displaced workers revolt. allmovie.com Read More »