USSR

Aleksandr Rogozhkin – Karaul (1990)

Synopsis (courtesy of the two IMDB comments):
Very cinematic Russian tale of alienation and lost identity
I saw this film on a local government television station in Australia called SBS which played it at midnight. There’s something very beautiful about this film which despite being set amidst the cold, harsh landscape of a desolate Russian territory it features the vitally honest, wan, lost eyes of the lead actor (whose name I can’t recall regrettably) whose vivid sense of alienation was extremely memorable. Its a B&W film about a military guard who finds himself lost amidst his fellow guards’ corruption and his own painful sense of duty versus his sense of goodness. Read More »

Vladimir Motyl – Beloe solntse pustyni AKA White Sun of the Desert (1970)

One of classics of the Soviet cinema and the most popular film of the Soviet era.

A soldier of the Red Army named Sukhov has been fighting in the Russian Civil War in Russian Asia for many years. Just as he is about to return home to his wife, Sukhov is chosen to guard and protect the harem of a guerilla leader (Abdulla). Abdulla is wanted by the Red Army and left his harem behind because the women hindered him. Sukhov’s task proves to be more difficult than he imagined…
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Yuli Raizman – Kommunist (Коммунист) AKA The Communist (1958)

Synopsis: In 1919 workers arrive by train in the middle of the Taiga in order to construct a town. They fell trees and unload bricks from the train for that purpose. The newly arrived hero Vasilij is made chief of the depot, meets hostility and has to put down corruption. (In one scene he searches the the foreman and finds a few nails hidden in his pocket.) Vasilij shares a cabin with other workers and a couple who sleep in a corner of the room behind a curtain. He falls in love with the woman and secretly meets her and makes her pregnant. Read More »

Roman Kachanov – Avrora AKA Aurora (1973)

The Aurora (Авро́ра) is a Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in St. Petersburg. She became a symbol of the Communist Revolution in Russia.
During the First World War the ship operated in the Baltic Sea. At the end of 1916, the ship was moved to Saint Petersburg (then Petrograd) for a major repair. The city was brimming with revolutionary ferment and part of her crew joined the 1917 February Revolution. A revolutionary committee was created on the ship (Aleksandr Belyshev was elected its captain). Most of the crew joined the Bolsheviks, who were preparing for a Communist revolution.
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Sergei Yutkevich – Otello (1955)

Imdb Author: eva25at from Vienna, Austria:
This smart and colorful version of the bard’s play about the green eyed monster jealousy is popular entertainment: it runs like an Errol-Flynn-swashbuckler. Curly-head Desdemona looks like a (ripe) Hollywood starlet and Emilia is equally attractive. Sergei Bondarchuk’s performance remains astonishingly fresh. He is a handsome, commanding presence with a boyish naivity: easy to dupe, but very sexy. Andrei Popov is equally superb as Don Juan like Iago, a fiery-eyed rooster. This film anticipates even the daring relationship of the Laurence Fishburne/ Kenneth Branagh version: In one scene Bondarchuk & Popov coo like turtle-doves. Laurence Olivier’s (now politically incorrect) Othello and Kenneth Branagh’s genial Iago may be unsurpassed, but this soviet version is more entertaining than the moth-eaten Orson Welles film and definitely more intelligent than the Zeffirelli film. Yutkevich won the director award in Cannes! Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – The Cultural Heritage [Disc 1] (1926 – 1928)

Love’s Berries 1926
The mistress of hairdresser Jean Kovbasyuk throws a baby up to him. Jean decides in any method to be delivered from a “natural” child…Getting a call to the judicial investigator, Kovbasyuk is given up to search a child. A mistress labours for in the court of people’s “justice”. However much it turns out after registration of marriage, that Jean and in actual fact was not the father of child. But lately… Read More »

Aleksandr Dovzhenko – Arsenal (The Cultural Heritage) [Disc 2] (1928)

In Arsenal, Alexander Dovzhenko, perhaps the most radical of the Soviet directors of the silent period, altered the already extended conventions of cinematic structure to a degree greater than had even the innovative Sergei Eisenstein in his bold October. The effect of this tinkering with the more or less accepted proprieties of motion picture construction produced a work that is actually less a film than it is a highly symbolic visual poem. For example, in a more linearly structured piece like October, the metaphors, allusions, and analogies that arise through the construction of the various montages replace rather than comment on essential actions within the film. In Arsenal, however, the symbolism is so purposely esoteric, with seemingly deliberate barriers established to block the viewer’s perception, that the relationship of individual symbols or sequences to the various actions of the film is not immediately clear. Read More »