Sunday, 12 October 2008

Oleg Pogodin: Man of East aka Invincible - Непобедимый (2008)

Invincible (2008)

Director: Oleg Pogodin
Writer: Oleg Pogodin
Stars: Vladimir Epifantsev, Sergei Astakhov, Harry Borg

Invincible (2008)

Yegor Kremnyov is a Russian special intelligence agent. During his last mission, which was supposed to be simple and safe, all of his accomplices were killed. But the guy that they were to have captured turned out to be the secretary of the fugitive oligarch Sorkin – Mikhail Shering, who has been on the wanted list for a long time. According to rumors, Shering has secret papers that are of interest not only to Russian intelligence, but also to the powerful West crime syndicate. Now Kremnyov is faced with the difficult task of bringing Shering home. He is surrounded by treachery, conspiracy, ambushes and traps, but nevertheless Yegor plans to deliver Shering on his own. But Kremnyovrcos main trap is the very cargo he is to deliver – Shering. It is not so easy for Kremnyov to avoid the influence of his fellow traveler. This deathly dangerous journey will change them both – both the fugitive Shering and the invincible Kremnyov.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Latest Russian blockbuster fits Kremlin script

Russia's latest blockbuster film hopes to woo big foreign audiences with an epic tale of doomed love set amid the chaos of the Russian Civil War; its politics conveniently chime with a Kremlin-sponsored mood of patriotism.

'Admiral,' which has its world premiere on Monday evening, glorifies Alexander Kolchak, a former naval hero who led White Russian forces into battle against the Bolsheviks in Siberia and briefly became Supreme Governor of Russia before meeting an untimely end at the hands of a communist firing squad.

Despised in Soviet times as a Tsarist enemy of the people, Kolchak is back in fashion as the Kremlin tries to reconnect today's resurgent Russia with its glorious imperial past and bury the 74 years of communism which came in between.

"It's very important we talk about our history, our country, our officers," director Andrei Kravchuk said in an interview.

"If we understand that we had such a history, such people... we can fill ourselves with dignity, and the notion of motherland and patriotism, which can seem worn and tarnished, gains new, concrete, visible meaning."

The film's backers hope that the epic, which opens across Russia this Thursday in a record 1,250 prints, will secure the same success at home and abroad as an earlier hit by the same producers, the 2004 fantasy horror film "Night Watch."

Boasting a $20 million budget -- huge by Russian standards -- "Admiral" portrays Kolchak as a fearless naval commander, loving father, dashing lover and principled leader of the doomed White Russians as they make a final stand in the winter snow.

Official site here.
Trailers here.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Lev Atamanov: The Snow Queen - Снежная королева - (1957)

Director-producer Lev Atamanov

The Snow Queen (Russian: Снежная королева, Snezhnaya koroleva) is a 1957 Soviet traditionally-animated feature film. It was produced at the Soyuzmultfilm studio in Moscow and is based on the story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. The film was re-released with English soundtracks in 1959 and 1998.

1957—Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion in the animated film category
1958—Cannes Film Festival: First prize in the animated film category
1958—Rome: First prize
1958—Moscow Film Festival: Special prize
1959—London (Festival of festivals): Prize for best film of year

Atamanov was one of the founders of Soviet animation art. First he directed animation agitation posters and films. Afterwards he shifted to making children’s films after Russian, Armenian, Chinese, Indian and Danish fairy tales. He was the first director of Armenian animation cinematography. From 1936 he worked at Erevan Film Studio, where he directed the first Armenian sound animation, The Dog and the Cat (Shunn u Katun) after Tumanian’s fable, in 1938, and The Magic Carpet (Kakhardakan gorg) in 1948.

He worked at the “Soyuzmultfilm” studio and directed there a number of fairy films, such as The Yellow Stork (Zheltyy aist) (1950, after a Chinese folk tale, Prize of the International Film Festival in Deli), Scarlet Flower (Alenkiy tsvetochek) (1952, after a Russian fairy tale), and The Golden Antelope (1954, after Indian tales, special prize of the 8th International Film Festival in Cannes in 1955, prizes of the International Film Festival in Belgrade in 1956).

His full-length animation The Snow Queen (Snezhnaya koroleva) (1957, after Andersen’s tale) took the First Prize among children’s films at the International Film Festival in Venice in 1957, was awarded with a special prize at the First All-Union Festival in Moscow and acknowledged as the best film of the year at the IFF in London in 1959.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Aleksandr Alov and Vladimir Naumov: Flight - Бег (1970)

Running (1970)

Directors:Aleksandr Alov and Vladimir Naumov
Starring: Lyudmila Savelyeva, Aleksey Batalov, Mikhail Ulyanov.
Film was entered into the 1971 Cannes Film Festival.

Film is based on the eponymous play by Mikhail Bulgakov, about defeat of the "White Army" in the Russian Civil War of 1918-21, that caused massive emigration of the upper classes and nobility, called "White Russians".