USSR

Abdulla Karsakbayev – Menya zovut kozha aka My Name is Kozha (1964)

Koja is really a little brat nobody can tame. His mother, neighbours and even his head teacher don’t know how to deal with such a boy any more. The head teacher tells him that, unfortunately, he is not like his father who died at war. Koja makes promises, but he forgets them as soon as he leaves the head teacher’s office … “Working on a film with children should be like a game so that the shooting does not weight heavily on them. All children are by nature actors and story tellers. They simply express this penchant in more or less obvious ways. ” Abdulla Karsakbaiev
Source Festival de Vesoul, 2012 Read More »

Nikoloz Sanishvili – Chermeni AKA Chermen (1970)

The film’s main hero is Chermen. An illegitimate son, Chermen is striving to assert his dignity. He is opposed by Dacco, the elder of the Aldar clan, in whose village Chermen lives. Guided by mercenary motives, Dacco strikes a deal with Prince Tsarai. Together, they rob people and then divide the loot between themselves.
By some chance, Chermen learns of the deal and informs his friends about it. At first, he thinks that no one in the Aldar village would believe him, the bastard, and that the plot would remain unexposed. But the friends accept the challenge. Read More »

Kaljo Kiisk, Yuli Kun – Vallatud kurvid AKA Venturous Curves (1959)

Quote:
The first Estonian wide-screen feature film directed by Juli Kun and Kaljo Kiisk is a pure situation comedy where twin sisters (both roles played by Terje Luik) are in the middle of passionate adventures during a motorbike competition.

Vaike, a student and a motorbike racer, arrives at the racetrack where the bikes are already racing at full speed. She gets involved in adventures while getting acquainted with Raivo, successful biker and womanizer, and Heino, another big league biker who offers Vaike his help in preparing for the competition. Vaike finds it hard to face all that alone. Her twin sister Maret will helped her with this complicated situation. Only that this time Maret’s new husband Ants will join the game. He is convinced that he can make the difference between Maret and Vaike. Read More »

Leonid Kvinikhidze – Drug aka Friend (1987)

Quote:
Looking for the money for a drink, an alcoholic gets a Newfoundland dog as a present from a stranger at a bird fair. He’ll soon find out that the animal is not only able to speak, but to get him to give up drinking as well. Now he’s determined to get rid of the dog, but that won’t be an easy task. Written by Mario. Read More »

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 »