Saturday, 30 October 2010

Aleksandr Kaidanovsky: The Wife Of The Kerosene Man - Жена керосинщика (1988)

Director: Aleksandr Kaidanovsky
Script: Alexander Kaidanovsky
Operator: Alexei Rodionov
Composer: Alexander Goldstein
Artists: Victor Zenkov, Theodore Tezhik
Country: USSR
Year: 1988
Premiere: September 1989

Cast: Vytautas Paukste, Aleksandr Baluev, Anna Myasoyedova

Awards : Grand prix du film fantastique au Festival d'Avoriaz, 1990

Plot: A doctor is framed by his own brother, who wants his wife, and was sent to gaol for allowing one of his patients to die. Now the doctor is out of prison he ekes out a living by selling kerosene door to door, whilst his brother holds a high position in local government.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Vsevolod Pudovkin: The Deserter - Дезертир (1933)

Directed by : Vsevolod PUDOVKIN

Cinematography : Anatoli GOLOVNIA
Production design : Sergey KOZLOVSKI
Music : Yuri SHAPORIN
Sound : Yevgeni NESTEROV
Companies : Mejrabpomfilm
Release date in Russia : 19/09/1933

While the crushing of the labor movement in Germany during the two years devoted by V. I. Pudovkin to the production of his first dialogue motion picture has robbed it of much of its timeliness, the main theme of "Deserter," now at the Cameo Theatre, remains unaffected by the triumph of Hitlerism.
The filmed story of the young Hamburg metal worker (Boris Livanof) who becomes faint-hearted in the course of a lengthy strike of dockers and shipyard workers, and is sent to Soviet Russia by a farseeing labor leader (B. Kovrigin) to be cured of his temporary weakness, will interest admirers of good camera work and direction and will be applauded by class-conscious workers. Some of the latter, however, may resent the slurs cast upon the "Social Democratic betrayers of labor" who counseled arbitration when the strikers and their families were practically starved out.
Pudovkin again demonstrates his ability to hold screen audiences, but be could have reduced the running time of "Deserter" by about fifteen minutes without lessening its value. The best acting is done by some of the secondary characters and by the masses in the clashes with the police and in the scenes of industrial activity and proletarian festivities in Soviet Russia. What might be labeled a Socialist happy ending is achieved by having the conscience-stricken hero confess his faults, return to Hamburg and carry the banner of the strikers in a desperate battle with the police.

The New York Times

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Nikolai Dostal:Petya on the Road to the Kingdom of Heaven - Петя по дороге в Царствие Небесное (2009)

Director:Nikolai Dostal
Writer:Mikhail Kurayev
Stars:Egor Pavlov, Aleksandr Korshunov, Roman Madyanov

Awards : First prize Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF), Russia, 2009
Best actor Egor PAVLOV , Honfleur Russian Film Festival, France, 2009
Best music Aleksey SHELYGIN , "NIKA" Prizes, Russia, 2009
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Roman MADIANOV ,
"NIKA" Prizes, Russia, 2009

Review by Alexander Jakobidze-Gitman

Since the glasnost years the Stalin era has become a popular topic in Russian cinema, and has also helped to draw attention to Russian film abroad. At the last Moscow Film Festival (2009), the Grand-Prix was once again conferred on a picture about the Stalin era, Nikolai Dostal's Petya on the Road to the Kingdom of Heaven [Petya po doroge v Tsarstvie Nebesnoe]. However, unlike Dmitry Meskhiev's Us [Svoi] (2004), which was distinguished not only by high cinematic quality but also by an innovative ideological approach, and whose triumph at the festival 5 years ago came as strong evidence of Russian cinema's revival, the success of Petya was somewhat puzzling, and was not followed by any significant public or critical acclaim. It seems that the film's awkward status and rather ambiguous messages (that will be examined below) reflect not only a rather baffling course of the development in Russian cinema, but also, somewhat indirectly, the painful hesitations in the Russian cultural establishment regarding its attitude towards Stalinism. As a matter of fact, these hesitations were revealed a bit later, when, first, Stalin's biography was published in the famous “Lives of Remarkable People” book series, and then followed the formal condemnation of the Katyn massacre.
Since the early 2000s, interest in the screen image of the Stalin era started to shift from the recent past to the more distant historical past (such as the eras of Peter the Great or the Decembrists). It is not that any terrifying aspects of Soviet history were obscured; on the contrary, the violence and starvation in prison camps and the blood-thirstiness of NKVD executioners were shown in a more elaborate manner than ever before. Many of these new films and TV series were based on works by writers such as Solzhenitsyn or Shalamov, whose subject, means of expression, and history made them essentially oppositional to official Soviet culture. These works suddenly became source material for a production line of costume dramas, complete with a standard set of clichés and produced primarily by the state-run Channel One; one may say that the Soviet past has thereby undergone a “secondary processing.”
This phenomenon also coincides with a new wave in architecture that imitates the Stalinist Empire style and a fad for reprints of postcards and posters of the 1920-1950s, whose propagandist messages can now be perceived as merely funny or even cute. One might easily determine that the Stalin era is being transformed from a painful topic in national memory into an object of mass consumption, a commodity brand with which one can “sell” both terrifying and curious phenomena with equal success.
At least on the surface, however, Petya and a few other recent films—such as A Gift to Stalin [Podarok Stalinu] (Rustem Abdrashev, 2008) and Kind People [Lyudi dobrye] (Alexei Karelin, 2009)—show something of a counter-tendency. They demonstrate a revival of the trend in the post-Soviet cinema of the 1990s that was concerned with depicting out-of-the-way locations during the postwar years, where people of different backgrounds were forced to live close to one another in communal apartments and barracks. Many of these films--such as Pyotr Todorovsky's Encore, Once More Encore! (1992) and What a Wonderful Game (1996), Savva Kulish's The Iron Curtain (1994), Lev Kulidzhanov's Forget-me-nots (1994), Leonid Maryagin's The 101st Kilometer (2001), and Pavel Chukhray's celebrated The Thief [1997]--were autobiographical, since the youth of the filmmakers occurred in the postwar period and they could therefore be considered to be products of “primary processing.” ...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Alexei Balabanov: Fireman - Кочегар (2010)

Director: Aleksei Balabanov
Scenario: Aleksei Balabanov
Producer: Sergei Selyanov
Operator: Alexander Simonov
Genre: Drama, Crime
Actors: Yuri Matveev, Mikhail Skryabin, Aida Tumutova, Aleksandr Mosin, Anna Korotaeva, Vyacheslav Telnov, Roman Burenkov, Vyacheslav Pavlyut, Sayan Mongush, Petr Semak, Oleg Korytin, Philip Dyachkov, Irina Osnovina, Dmitry Poddubny

The legendary “Brat” (“Brother”) director is known for his violent movies, and if the flaming skull on his upcoming film’s poster might be taken as evidence that “Kochegar” will be equally as challenging as “Gruz 200” (“Cargo 200”). The action takes place in St. Petersburg in the mid-‘90s, where a fireman spends his free time writing short stories on an old typewriter. But the man’s creative process is often interrupted by visits from some of the city’s strangest characters.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Gleb Panfilov:There is no Passage through Fire - В огне брода нет (1967)

Directed by: Gleb Panfilov
Screenwriters: Yevgeny Gabrilovich, Gleb Panfilov
Operator: Dmitry Dolinin
Composer: Vadim Bibergan
Artists: Natalia Vasilyeva, Marksen Gaukhman-Sverdlov

Actors: Inna Churikova, Mikhail Kononov, Vadim Beroev, Anatoly Solonitsyn, Maya Bulgakov, Mikhail Gluzsky, Vladimir Kashpur, Michael Kokshenov, Evgeny Lebedev, Love Malinowska, Vitaly Matveev, Leonid Dyachkov, Anatoly Marenich, Nikolai Kuzmin, Mikhail wisely, Nicholas Ants, Viktor Terekhov Stanislav Churkin, Alexander Khochinsky.


* Prize "Golden Leopard" for Best Director Gleb Panfilov and the Jury Prize for best actress Inna Churikova International Film Festival in Locarno in 1969.
* Leningrad Komsomol Prize in 1970 by Gleb Panfilov for making films, "No Path Through Fire" and "Home."
* Participation in the "Week of Russian cinema at Cannes in 1998 (Retrospective Inna Churikova).

Monday, 11 October 2010

Russian director explores Dostoyevsky

Russia’s director Vladimir Khotinenko has made a film series about the Russian literary genius Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Khotinenko shared his experiences in an interview with Voice of Russia.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is widely seen as Russia’s hallmark brand. For Vladimir Khotinenko, Dostoyevsky is not a monument, but a person.
'My project explores Dostoyevsky the person, not Dostoyevsky the genius, he says. If you want to see how ingenious he was, read his books. My project was designed to paint a human picture of Dostoyevsky in contrast to the established stereotypes stemming from the portrait of Dostoyevsky by the Russian artist Perov, who portrayed Dostoyevsky as significant, sullen and somewhat bored…'
By contrast, Khotinenko shows the writer to be passionate, reckless and vulnerable. Just as his characters, who he often copied from himself, Dostoyevsky took everything in his life - love, art and gambling - to the limit.
Dostoyevsky’s life was as exciting as his novels. He was a strong personality and produced an equally strong impact. He loved reading his works, and works by Gogol and Pushkin, in public. His performance had such magical power and was filled with so much emotion that people fainted during his reading of Pushkin’s “Prophet”. His work was accompanied by visual effects. As he dictated “The Gambler” to his wife, he paced up and down the room, from the window to the door, from the door to the oven, then slapped the oven. A seemingly trifle move, the slapping was resonated with the writer’s inner rhythm.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is played by Yevgeny Mironov, who starred in the screen version of Dostoyevsky’s “Idiot” a few years ago. In the new series Mironov had to trace the writer’s life from age 26 to nearly the last of his days.
Voice of Russia

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Top 20 Russian Movies - khanbaliq's Selection

khanbaliq wrote, and choose following films:

The cinema of Russia began in the Russian Empire, widely developed under the Soviet and in the years following the fall of the Soviet system, the Russian film industry would remain internationally recognized. In the 21st century, Russian cinema has become popular internationally with hits such as House of Fools, Night Watch, and the exceptionally popular Brother.

Cinema Of Russia

20. Office Romance (comedy) - Eldar Ryazanov
19. Assa (crime) - Sergei Solovyov
18. Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears (drama) - Vladimir Menshov
17. The End Of St. Petersburg (drama) - Vsevolod Pudovkin
16. Prisoner Of The Mountains (war) - Sergei Bodrov
15. An Unfinished Piece For A Player Piano (drama) - Nikita Mikhalkov
14. October: Ten Days That Shook The World (historical) - Sergei Eisenstein
13. Ballad Of A Soldier (war) - Grigori Chukhrai
12. White Sun Of The Desert (adventure) - Vladimir Motyl
11. Dersu Uzala (drama) - Akira Kurosawa
10. War And Peace (epic) - Sergei Bondarchuk
09. Tale Of Tales (avant garde) - Yuriy Norshteyn
08. Stalker (science fiction) - Andrei Tarkovsky
07. Come And See (war) - Elem Klimov
06. The Cranes Are Flying (drama) - Mikhail Kalatozov
05. Solaris (science fiction) - Andrei Tarkovsky
04. Alexander Nevsky (historical) - Sergei Eisenstein
03. Man With A Movie Camera (avant garde) - Dziga Vertov
02. Andrei Rublev (historical) - Andrei Tarkovsky
01. The Battleship Potemkin (historical) - Sergei Eisenstein

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tarkovsky, Mihalkov, and Sokurov, headliners at the Russian Film Festival in Bucharest

The first edition of the Russian Film Festival will take place in Bucharest, between October 22 and 28, showcasing some of the best known creations of Russian cinema.
Highlights of the festival are Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker , Aleksandr Sokurov’s Days of Eclipse, Leonid Gaidai’s Diamond Hand and Russian film royalty Nikita Mikhalkov’s At Home among Strangers. Russian cartoon nostalgics will be pleasantly surprised to rediscover the mischievous wolf’s attempt at escaping the ever-elusive hare in Nu pogodi cartoons (translated as Just You Wait! In English), as part of the set of the Festival’s Russian cartoons section.
The festival will take place at Cinema Eforie and Cinema Studio, in Bucharest. What’s more, between October 21 and 28, Union cinema will host a cartoon exhibit signed by pioneering Russian director Sergei Eisenstein.
Business Review