Tuesday, 28 December 2010

“Battleship Potemkin” still the world’s best film?

December 20 saw 85 years since the premiere of the famous film “The Battleship Potemkin” by the great Russian film director Sergey Eisenstein.

A year after its premiere, the film was recognized “the world’s best film of all times”. Since 1950s, it has been included each time into the top ten of the world’s best films which is compiled by the Sight & Sound British magazine by a survey of 100 experts from all over the world and renewed every ten years. This year, “Potemkin” occupied the third place in the top ten of the world’s best films which was published by Empire magazine.

Russian cinema expert Naum Kleyman comments on this choice:

“There are pieces of art which are eternal – the Greek temple Parthenon, Leonardo’s Giaconda, Beethoven’s Ninth symphony… “Battleship Potemkin” is one of them. In its time, the film was a breakthrough. Before it, cinematography was viewed rather as an entertainment than as serious art. At “Potemkin’s” premiere, people saw that cinematography can touch the innermost of one's heart, like music or theater."

In fact, Eisenstein made his film by an order from Soviet leaders to the 20th anniversary of the first Russian revolution of 1905. The revolution gripped all Russia but was suppressed by the government.

The film’s script is based on one episode of the 1905 revolution – a mutiny on the battleship “Potemkin” in the port of Odessa in the Crimea. The city’s residents supported the rebels. To suppress the mutiny, the authorities brought in a squadron of battleships, but no one on these ships dared to fire at the rebellious sailors. Eventually, the authorities had to release “Potemkin” into the open sea. ...

Director of Soviet ‘Rambo’ Dies at 75

Russian film director Mikhail Tumanishvili, who was behind one of the biggest Soviet-era blockbusters, died in Moscow on Thursday. He was 75.

News agencies did not report a cause of death, but the director was hospitalized with lung problems earlier this year, the Infox.ru news agency reported.

Tumanishvili, a Muscovite, began his career as a theater actor but switched to filmmaking with his debut in 1981.

His first big hit was the thriller “Solo Voyage” (1985), which features Soviet marines preventing a group of U.S. right-wing military officers from starting World War III by launching a rocket attack on the Soviet Union. The action-packed movie took the Soviet box office by storm and boasted an audience of some 40 million.

Two years later, The New York Times likened the film to Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo” and noted that it reveled in the same sort of Cold War stereotypes. The U.S. military is depicted as cold-blooded killers, but in a touch of the blossoming perestroika policy, “Solo Voyage” also features American tourists helping the Soviets uncover the plot.
Tumanishvili’s other notable work includes the drama “Crash, a Cop’s Daughter” (1989) and the hit crime series “Turetsky’s March” (2000). He directed a total of 16 feature-length films and three television series.
St. Petersburg Times

Mikhail Tumanishvili was born in Moscow in 1935. He was trained as a theater and film actor in the Shchukin School of Theater where he graduated in 1957. He acted on stage in the Pushkin Theater in Moscow and in films such as Leningradskaya Simfoniya (1957), Zhizn Snachala (1961) and Armageddon (1962). Since 1964 he worked as an assistant director for Mosfilm until his directorial debut with Otvetnii Khod in 1981. He has made 11 films to date.
1981 Countermove (Otvetnii Khod)
1982 Incident at Map-Grid 36-80 (Sluchai v Kvadrate 36-80)
1984 Line of Resistance (Polosa Prepyatstvii)
1985 Solo Journey (Odinochnoe Plavanie)
1987 Free Fall (Svobodnoe Padenie)
1989 Avariya – Cop's Daughter (Avariya – Doch Menta)
1991 Wolfhound (Volkodav)
1993 Stalin's Testament (Zaveshchanie Stalina)
1995 Crusader (Krestonosets) (co-directed with Aleksandr Inshakov)
1998 Yukka (Yukka)
2000 Turetskii's March (Marsh Turetskovo)

Friday, 24 December 2010

Alexey Balabanov's Fireman Takes White Elephant Prize

Film critics have awarded the major prize of the White Elephant award to Alexey Balabanov's drama film Kochegar (Fireman).

Prize for the best camerawork went to Pavel Kostomarov and the film Kak ya provyol etim letom (aka How I Ended This Summer). Sergey Puskepalis and Grigory Dobrygin featured in the prize-winning drama, became the best actors. The best actress prize went to Olga Demidova, who starred in the drama picture Obratnoe dvizhenie (Reverse Motion) directed by Andrey Stempkovsky.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Andrei Andrianov: Spy - Шпион (2011)

A film adaptation of Boris Akunin's "spy novel".

Director: Alexey Andrianov
Cast: Daniel Kozlowski, Fyodor Bondarchuk, Victoria Tolstoganova, Anna Chipovskaya, Vladimir Yepifantsev, Sergei Gazarov, Aleksey Gorbunov, Victor Verzhbitsky, Alexey Gavrilov, Catherine Miller
Script Vladimir Valutsky, Nikolai Kulikov
Operator Dennis Alarcon Ramirez
Producers Leonid Vereshchagin, Sergei Shumakov
Manufacturing Studio "thumbnail" supported "Russia 1

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ilya Khrzhanovsky: 4 - Четыре (2005)

Ilya Khrjanovsky
Vladimir Sorokin
Cast :Shavkat Abdusalamov, Anatoli Adoskin and Aleksei Khvostenko

Awards :
Special Jury prize Open Russian Film Festival Kinotavr, Russia, 2005
Grand prix au Festival de Rotterdam, 2005

The lies shared by three Russian strangers take on a life of their own in director Ilya Khrzhanovsky's dreamlike journey into the strange heart of modern-day Russia. After entering a local watering hole and relaying a series of elaborate but entirely fabricated tales, a prostitute posing as an advertising executive, a piano tuner claiming to be a genetic engineer, and a butcher posing as a Kremlin insider all go their separate ways. In the hours following their strange conversation, all three will experience a surreal and richly symbolic voyage into a land where the specter of even the most elaborate of lies can somehow fade into reality for one tantalizing instant. (kinoglaz.fr)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Film by Alexey Uchitel among Golden Globe nominations

Alexey Uchitel`s Krai (The Edge) starring Vladimir Mashkov has been listed among the top five films nominated for the Golden Globe awards.

The action takes place in Siberia in late 1940s.

Voice of Russia

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Kazansky - Chebotarev: The Amphibian Man - (Человек-Амфибия) 1962

Directors: Vladimir Chebotaryov, Gennadi Kazansky
Writers: Aleksandr Belyaev (novel), Akiba Golburt,
Stars: Vladimir Korenev, Anastasiya Vertinskaya,Mikhail Kozakov


The film is based on the 1927 novel by famous writer Aleksandr Belyayev.

A cross between Jules Verne and Hans Christian Andersen, became one of the biggest smash hits in Soviet history.

Awards : Deuxième prix du Festival du film à Trieste (Italie), 1962

Part science fiction, part fantasy, and part romance, Amphibian Man, based on the 1928 Aleksandr Beliaev novel of the same name, is the story of Ikhtiandr’s (Vladimir Korenev) search for love and acceptance on land. In an exotic and beautiful unspecified Latin American locale, (Buenos Aires, Argentina in the novel) townspeople live in fear of an exotic creature, “the sea devil.” In reality, this “sea devil” is the kindly Ikhthiandr, whose father, Dr. Sal'vator (Nikolai Simonov) replaced his lungs with shark’s gills in a lifesaving operation in his childhood. Although Dr. Sal'vator dreams of a utopian underwater republic where his son can thrive, Ikhthiandr has his sights set on a different prize: the beautiful Guttiere (Anastasiia Vertinskaia), whom he rescued from a shark attack when she fled from an unwanted suitor. Feeling stifled by loneliness and the solitary existence of life under the sea, Ikhthiandr sets out to find her, against his father’s wishes. Along the way, he encounters not only her greedy and jealous fiancé, Pedro Zurita (Mikhail Kozakov), but also the cruel realities of the world outside of his sheltered underwater existence.

In many ways, the now fifty-year-old film has not aged well, but it has done so in a way that is generally considered “so bad, it’s good.” Amphibian Man, with its cheesy 1960s visual aesthetics and relatively low budget, given costly technical aspects, has become a cult classic. It has an overdramatic and oversimplified love story. Guttiere is predictably the object of affection of not only Ikhthiandr and Pedro, but also Ol'sen (Vladlen Davydov), a journalist and friend of Dr. Sal'vator. Ikhthiandr wins her heart by immediately confessing his love for her and, when she teases him about love at first sight, he earnestly replies with “Is there any other kind?” This charming, but utopian love, combined with impossibly ridiculous feats of technology and the tragic ending of the loveable and naive Ikhthiandr who wanted nothing more than to be a part of the world on land, seem to form the perfect mixture of terrible and brilliant.

More here

Original version of the movie here.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Oleg Stepchenko: Vii: The Return - Вий: Возвращение

 Вий 3D (2013)

Director: Oleg Stepchenko
Cast :Jason Flemyng, Valery Zolotukhin, Alexei Chadov, Agniya Ditkovskite, Nina Ruslanova, Olga Zaitseva, Andrew Smolyakov, Igor Jijikine, Oleg Taktarov, Alexander Karpov, Anna Churina,

 Вий 3D (2013)

The film is directed by Oleg Stepchenko, based on the first manuscript of Nikolai Gogol. The film is in production since December 2005, and was stopped sometimes due to lack of finance.. In April 2011 the filming was completed.

 Вий 3D (2013)

Early 18th century. Cartographer Jonathan Green undertakes a scientific voyage from Western Europe to the East.

 Вий 3D (2013)

Having passed through Transylvania and crossed the Carpathian Mountains, he finds himself in a small village lost in impassible woods of Ukraine. Nothing but chance and heavy fog could bring him to this cursed place. People who live here do not resemble any other people which 
the traveler saw before that. 

Official site here.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Alexandr Ptushko: Scarlet Sails - Алые паруса (1961)

Directed by Alexander Ptushko. Screenplay by A. Yurovsky, and S. Nagorny
B.ased on Alexander Grin's 1923 adventure novel
Actors: Vasiliy Lanovoy, Pavel Massalsky, Anastasia Vertinskaya, Oleg Anofriev, G. Shpigel