Tag Archives: Nikolay Gubenko

Nikolai Gubenko – Podranki aka The Orphans (1977)

The original Russian title Podranki can be translated as War Orphans. The protagonist is an adult writer who undergoes a flashback at the drop of a hat. He recalls how he was orphaned when his father was killed in World War II and his mother committed suicide. He remembers the appalling treatment afforded him by a sadistic orphanage official. And he muses over his losing contact with his brothers and sisters. This is why the grown-up writer is currently involved in lobbying for better treatment of Russian orphans. Orphans caused a minor stir in 1977 when it became the first Russian film in nearly two decades to be chosen for the Cannes Film Festival by the festival judges, rather than being submitted by the Soviets. The film did not see the light of a carbon arc in America until 1980. Read More »

Marlen Khutsiev – Mne dvadtsat let aka I Am Twenty (1965) (HD)

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This movie was originally filmed in 1962 as Zastava Ilyicha (The Ilyich Gate). It was one of the first films that reflected the younger generation’s resentment of the older generation’s ways. The original title referred to Lenin’s paternal name (his full name was Vladimir Ilyich Lenin). Even after the decanonization of Stalin, Lenin still remained the icon for the old generation. “Ilyich” was often used as an affectionate term in Soviet iconography. The film invoked Soviet premier Nikita Khruschev’s sharp criticism. Meeting the studio members, he said: “Do you want us to believe in the scene where a father doesn’t know how to answer his son’s question “how to live?” At the censor’s insistence the movie was re-cut and released under the “apolitical” title Mne Dvatdsat Let (I’m Twenty) in 1964. In 1991, the film was re-released and shown at the London Film Festival with ninety minutes of the original footage restored, resulting in a film which was 175 minutes long. Read More »