Tag Archives: Russian

Boris Barnet – Shchedroe leto AKA A Bountiful Summer (1951)

Quote:
Oksana Podpruzhenko, a beautiful brigadeer, a “heroin of the kolkhoz fields”, returns from Moscow where she has been awarded a medal for her work achievements. At the station she is met by a cheering mob of fellow townspeople, headed by Nazar, her boyfriend and director of the kolkhoz. Her idyll, however, is ruined with the arrival of Petro, who has returned from war to his native country… Read More »

Boris Barnet – Staryy naezdnik AKA The Old Rider (1940)

Quote:
A well-known rider, Trofimov, goes on taking part in races in spite of the advanced age. After an humiliating race, he realizes his time has gone, decides to marry and to invite his niece from the kolkhoze and village where he once lived. Read More »

Aleksandr Sokurov – Smirennaya zhizn AKA A Humble Life (1997)

An ancient, solitary house lost in the remote mountains of the village of Aska, in Japan. Inside the house lives an old solitary woman, whose humble life is made of little and silent tasks and traditions whose origins are lost in time: stitching kimonos, cooking, eating, keeping the fire alight, combing her hair, reciting unadorned a haicai, a prayer on solitude. With music from Japanese folklore and melodies from Tchaikovsky, Sokurov creates a poem in images which recalls a culture thousands of years old and his own feelings of nostalgia for his native Russia. Read More »

Mikhail Bogin – Dvoe AKA Two In Love (1965)

Quote:
Dvoe aka Two aka Two in Love (Mikhail Bogin, 1965)

(confusingly, the NY Times reviewer cited below refers to this as A Ballad of Love, the English title commonly given not to this but to Bogin’s second film, O lyubvi)

A young musician courts a beautiful woman who refuses to respond to a word he says despite multiple encounters. Eventually he learns that she is completely deaf. The remainder of the film consists of their beautiful — and beautifully silent — romance. Read More »

Leonid Gaidai – Kavkazskaya plennitsa AKA Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1966)

Leonid Gaidai’s irreverent comedy updates a Leo Tolstoy story for modern Soviet times, in the Caucasus region. Shurik, a naive Russian student mired in his own clumsy Soviet culture, sets off to the Caucasus to write down the folk culture of this region: its traditions, legends, sayings, and toasts. Read More »

Lev Kuleshov – Po zakonu AKA By the law (1926)

Barbara Wurm, Edition Filmmuseum wrote:
Po zakonu (also know as Dura Lex) was the cheapest film produced in Russia (perhaps even still today); at the same time an absolute masterpiece, the greatness of which stems from its very minimalism. The minimum effort required for the story-development (Kuleshov constantly claimed, he happened upon Jack London’s story “The Unexpected” quite by chance), the minimum number of characters (just three for most of the film), a minimum of inter-titles and lines of dialogue, a minimum of locations; a clearing not far from Moscow (posing as “Alaska”) and a cabin–the perfect setting for a stripped-to-basics chamber play. Even if the juggling of shot composition and length (Kuleshov’s notorious “Americanism”) is not as artistically ambitious as in his previous work, it is still apparent how close-ups dominate inside, whilst outside, in the snowy landscapes and riverscapes, long shots reign, seemingly to the point of halting all movement. Read More »

Marlen Khutsiev & Feliks Mironer – Vesna na Zarechnoy ulitse AKA Spring on Zarechnaya Street (1956)

A young school teacher Tanya works at a night school for working people. But it’s uneasy to get used to grown-up men, their constant attempts at flirting, their sometimes too manly jokes and comments. She is especially irritated by Don Juan-like behavior of Sasha Savchenko. She avoids his advances, and Sasha becomes so upset that he drops out of school. After a while, Tanya gets used to this new for her environment, finds in her heart an attraction to Sasha, and there comes Spring, exams time… Read More »