USSR

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 »

Shaken Ajmanov – Konets Atamana AKA Az atamán halála (1971)

featuring Andrey Konchalovskiy on the script
Quote:
[…]Andrei Konchalovsky had, together with Eduard Tropinin, written the script for The End of the Ataman, directed by the renowned Kazakh film-maker Shaken Ajmanov. The film dealt with the special task of the Red officer Chadiarov (played by Asanali Ashimov), who in 1921 has to kill the ataman Dutov,a collaborator with the Whites.Chadiarov discloses during this operation the spy in the Red headquarters in his Kazakh home town. In order to fulfill this task, Chadiarov, who is a Chinese prince, has to get himself arrested as a spy by the Soviet commander; then he escapes, crosses the border and sides with the ataman, who resides in China. Chadiarov fulfills the secret mission successfully, while its full scale and significance transpire only at the end of the film. In its use of cavalry chases, escapes and hide-outs in the steppe, this film is fully within the genre of the ‘Eastern’. Read More »

Nadezhda Kosheverova & Mikhail Shapiro – Zolushka AKA Cinderella (1947)

It is one of those happy memories of our childhood, which sometimes is better to leave untouched in order to preserve the first naive impressions. The fabulous atmosphere and unusual interpretation of the story, together with the vivid images of the characters and magnificent game of actors create the truly magnetic effect. Even though the film is shot during the times of post-war hardships, it is filled with such a kindness and sincerity that you want to watch it again and again. At this difficult time Yevgeny Shwarts, Nadezhda Kosheverova and Mikhail Shapiro managed to create a beautiful fairytale, which fills the hearts of viewers with the unforgettable sense of miracle. Read More »

Mark Donskoy – Raduga AKA The Rainbow (1944)

Mark Donskoy, the Russian filmmaker whose fame rests upon his brilliant “Gorky Trilogy” of the late 1930s, came up with another artistic triumph in 1944’s Rainbow (originally Raduga). With understandable creative rage, Donskoy depicts life in a Nazi-occupied village at the beginning of World War 2. The German conquerors are above nothing, not even the slaughter of small children, to break the spirit of their Soviet captives. Suffering more than most is Olga (Nataliya Uzhviy), a Russian partisan who returns to the village to bear her child, only to endure the cruellest of arbitrary tortures at the hands of the Nazis. Eventually, the villagers rise up against their oppressors-but unexpectedly do not wipe them out, electing instead to force the surviving Nazis to stand trial for their atrocities in a post-war “people’s court.” (It is also implied that those who collaborated with the Germans will be dealt with in the same even-handed fashion). Brilliantly acted by virtually everyone in the cast, Rainbow is a remarkable achievement, one that deserves to be better known outside of Russia. Read More »