Saturday, 8 December 2007

Vladimir Bortko The Idiot - Идіотъ ( 2003) - TV series


Director:Vladimir Bortko
Writers:Vladimir Bortko, Fyodor Dostoevsky (novel)
Stars:Yevgeni Mironov, Vladimir Mashkov,Lidiya Velezheva


The Idiot is a costume drama TV series produced by Russia TV Channel, based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel with the same title.The series consists of 10 sequels each approximately 50 minutes.


Awards : 

Best actor Yevgeni MIRONOV , Golden Eagle awards, Russia, 2004
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Inna CHURIKOVA , Golden Eagle awards, Russia, 2004

This version of The Idiot, made for the Russian TV, is actually the first attempt to film the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel in its entirety. Yevgeny Mironov plays the title character, Russian Prince Myshkin, who returns to St. Petersburg after a stay in a Swiss mental hospital. The prince is not literally a mental midget; he is considered an idiot because, as an honest and upright person, he cannot keep pace with the evil in the world. He busies himself with the petty problems of his aristocratic friends, which drive him back into the recesses of insanity. Lidiya Velezheva co-stars as Nastassya Filippovna, the woman of loose morals who turns out to be the only person who truly cares about Myshkin's welfare, while Vladimir Mashkov plays the nominal villain of the piece, an iconoclastic merchant named Rogozhin, whose passion for Nastassya culminates in tragedy. The Idiot was previously filmed in France in 1946, in Japan by Akira Kurosawa in 1951, and in Russia in 1958.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Moscow Saga (Московская сага) - TV Series (2004)

Directed by Dmitri Barshchevsky.
With Yuri Solomin, Inna Churikova, Aleksandr Baluev, Olga Budina.

Moscow. 1925. Professor Gradov, his wife Mary, their children Nina, Nikita and Kirill, their numerous friends and relatives are young and full of hopes. Many of their dreams will come true, but history of the country in 30's-50's leaves no chances for serene life to anyone.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Stanislav Govorukhin: Actress - Артистка (2007)

Director: Stanislav Govorukhin
Script: Valery Mukharyamov
Camera: Valery Myulgaut
Production Design: Valentin Gidulanov
Music: Evgeny Doga
Cast: Evgenia Dobrovolskaya, Maria Aronova, Alexander Abdulov, Yuri Stepanov, Mikhail Yefremov, Fedor Bondarchuk, Irina Skobtseva, KIra Golovko, Svetlana Nemolyaeva, Dmitry Pevtsov, Varvara Shukyatieva, Anzhelika Volchkova
Producers: Yekaterina Maskina
Production: film studio “Vertikal”, Mosfilm, under support of the RF Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography and the RF Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications 2006, Russia, 100 min., color. Lyrical comedy.

Awards : Best film Festival ''Cinema and literature'', Gatchina (Russia), 2008
Audience Award Festival ''Cinema and literature'', Gatchina (Russia), 2008
Best actress Yevgeniya DOBROVOLSKAIA , Golden Eagle awards, Moscow (Russia), 2008
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Mariya ARONOVA , Golden Eagle awards, Moscow (Russia), 2008
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Aleksandr ABDULOV , Golden Eagle awards, Moscow (Russia), 2008
Audience Award Window to Europe Film Festival, Vyborg, Vyborg (Russia), 2007
Best actress Yevgeniya DOBROVOLSKAIA , Honfleur Russian Film Festival, Honfleur (France), 2007
First prize Festival Russian kino 'Moscow Premier Screenings', Moscow (Russia), 2007
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Mariya ARONOVA , "NIKA" Prizes, Moscow (Russia), 2007

Evgenia Dobrovolskaya's captivating perf sparks "Actress," veteran Russian helmer Stanislav Govorukhin's sly tale about an actress with an unquenchable, contagious sense of humor. Far from temperamental Margo Channing territory, pic's theatricality resides in its characters' exuberant exits and entrances, supportive empathy and appreciation for piquant bits of absurdity. A classically Russian spin on the screwball romantic-comedy genre that has proven so elusive in Hollywood nowadays, charming pic deserves international arthouse runs, though lack of timely hooks or sexy stars may dim its prospects.

With her career and lovelife in limbo, Anna Pavlova (Dobrovolskaya) is given to moments of pensive wistfulness. Despite the respect displayed by her fellow thesps in lively backstage banter, her bit part allows little room for her obvious talent. Her sole behind-the-scenes swain is the troupe's officious, gray-haired electrician (Alexander Abdulov), who conveniently has an apartment in the same building.

But, once ensconced next door with her flamboyant best friend Musya (Maria Aronova), having her future read in the cards or just shooting the breeze, Anna is free to kick back and indulge in the kind of ironic repartee that otherwise went out with Eve Arden and Joan Blondell.

Subtitles do a journeyman job of translating the numerous puns and plays on words, but it matters little, since the women's bubbling enjoyment is as infectious as it free of malice.

Thus, when Musya invites her husband's old school chum Vikentiy (Yuri Stepanov, a balding, roly-poly version of the handsome, absent-minded scientist of Govorukhin's Stalinist-era "Not by Bread Alone") to a match-making dinner, the shy parasitologist ("how romantic," Anna sighs mischievously) finds himself immensely entertained throughout the evening, drawn out of his intellectual shell by copious rounds of vodka and conversation. By the time Vikentiy putters off, he is already half in love with the luminous Anna.
Helmer Govorukhin's usual light, almost whimsical touch lends his characters' felicitous moments a dollop of improbability and a great deal of attitude. When Vikentiy's snooty mother comes to call, she mistakes Anna for the maid. Anna cannot resist the opportunity to assume the role, her sense of the ridiculous trumping any anger or hurt. (Variety)

The Actress is the comic tale of an actress languishing in bit parts who meets a mommy's boy genius entomologist, falls in love, and, instead of following him to Spain, stays to further her career having finally landed the part of Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare's Hamlet. While it has its comic moments and creditable acting performances, The Actress is an old-fashioned and unambitious film, the most interesting aspect of which are the quotations from Shakespeare. The credit for this, though, is due largely to the bard.

Most of the film is devoted to the relationship between two women, Anna (Evgeniia Dobrovol'skaia) and her neighbor and friend Musia (Mariia Aronova), a successful businesswoman with a dog-grooming salon, who is already on her fourth “successful marriage” to a man who is younger and better looking than she is, who sees other women, and whom she openly insults. As Iuliia Belozubkina has commented (46), the repartee between Anna and Musia, as well as the former's search for love, is reminiscent of Vladimir Men'shov's Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (Moskva slezam ne verit, 1979). The interplay between the two women provides the film with many of its comic moments, as their dialogue is fast-paced and presumably the fruit of many improvisations. Further comic bit parts are added by Basiakin (Aleksandr Abdullov), a theater electrician and Anna's neighbor in the communal flat, who makes no secret of his feelings for her. The comic centerpiece of the film, however, is provided by the parasitologist, Vikentii (Iurii Stepanov), who drops by looking for Musia's husband, Arkadii, and is waylaid, ridiculed, and plied with booze by the two women just for fun. The humor here works, but it has much of Evgenii's drunken antics in El'dar Riazanov's Irony of Fate (Ironiia sud'by, 1975) as liquor alone proves capable of prizing the dithering intellectual from his doting mother (Irina Skobtseva). His passivity may be said to be Hamlet-like, especially in the traditional Russian interpretation of the figure as symbolizing the weakness of the intelligentsia. The analogy might be extended a little further as his father, also a scientist, is dead, and an important spectral presence in his life is symbolized by the portrait that dominates the flat he shares with his mother. Yet she, unlike Hamlet's mother Queen Gertrude, has not married again but rather is consumed by and consuming in her love for her son.

Read more in KinoKultura

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The Twelve Chairs - Двенадцать стульев (1977) TV mini series

Mark Zakharov
Ilya Ilf (novel), Yevgeni Petrov (novel),
Aleksandr Makarov, Andrei Mironov and Anatoli Papanov

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Galina Vishnevskaya, Now 80, Finds New Success as Film Actress

Galina Vishnevskaya has not had an easy time of it this year. She has coped with the illness and death of her husband, Mstislav Rostropovich; and just a week or so after his burial, she herself was hospitalized for pneumonia for a few days and spent several weeks at her country home recuperating.
But this month has brought the retired opera star some good news: high praise from critics for her first leading role as a movie actress.
Vishnevskaya stars in Alexandra, the latest title from Alexander Sokurov, one of Russian cinema's leading auteurs. Best known in the U.S. for Russian Ark (2002) — which consists of a single, unedited 96-minute tracking shot of hundreds of performers in various rooms at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg — Sokurov has made 16 feature films and 28 documentaries, including one on Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya which was released last year. (Last month Sokurov directed live theater for the first time in his career, staging the Bolshoi Theater's first new production of Boris Godunov since 1948.)
The New York Times describes Alexandra as "a conceptually outrageous, uncharacteristically straightforward and enthralling story about a grandmother ... as she makes her way on train and on foot — pulling a shopping cart as if she were on her way to the market — to the Russian army camp where her 27-year-old officer grandson is stationed ... on the Chechen front."
Alexandra received its world premiere in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, which ended last Sunday night (May 27); unfortunately, neither director nor star was able to travel to France for the event because of health problems.
While the movie did not win any awards from the jury, it garnered high praise from the press. "Vishnevskaya is superb as the plucky old woman whose eyes convey the sadness of everything she sees," wrote The Hollywood Reporter. "Now in her early eighties, her face is still transcendently beautiful," said Peter Brunette in Screen Daily, "and leads easily toward the spirituality and otherworldliness that is often found in Sokurov's work." The Times's Manohla Dargis found that Vishnevskaya "brings a regal bearing to this potato-fed lump of a babushka ... puttering] about the camp and the adjacent Chechen town, uttering an endless stream of grandmotherly clucks and tuts." "A performance of monumental depth," wrote Jay Weissberg in Variety. "A life of struggle and dignity emanates from every pore. Sure, she's Mother Russia, but she's every mother viewing the wasted lives of young men and wondering why. Hers is no operatic performance, à la Maria Callas: this is the soul of Eleonora Duse."
Surely the most renowned soprano the Soviet Union ever produced, Galina Vishnevskaya was in her day the prima donna assoluta of the Bolshoi Theater. She was hugely admired by her countrymen; the great poet Anna Akhmatova even wrote a piece titled "On hearing Vishnevskaya sing Mozart." The West never really got to hear her at her best: she was already 48 by the time she and Rostropovich emigrated in 1974. Since returning to Russia in the early 1990s, she founded the Galina Vishnevskaya Moscow Opera Center to train young singers and established with her husband the Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation, which provides medicine, food and equipment to children's hospitals in the former Soviet Union.
As Pravda pointed out in a feature earlier this month in advance of the Cannes Festival, Vishnevskaya proved her mettle as a dramatic actress years ago in the 1966 film of Katerina Izmailova, the toned-down Khrushchev-era revision of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. And she has occasionally worked as a dramatic actress since her return to Russia. In 1993 she made an acclaimed spoken-word debut at the Moscow Art Theater as Catherine the Great in Elena Gremina's play Behind the Mirror (which was not itself as well received, according to Pravda). The same year she appeared in The Provincial Benefit Performance, a film by television Alexander Belinsky adapted from several works by the 19th-century Russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. That performance found less favor with the critics, and she did no more film acting until Sokurov invited her to star in Alexandra.
"I had dreamed for many years of making a film with Vishnevskaya in a leading role," Sokurov told The Hollywood Reporter last week. "Without her, I would not have shot a single frame of the film." (From PlaybillArts)