Friday, 30 December 2011

Poll picks “Vysotsky” 2011’s best film

A poll was recently held in Russia to name the best film of the outgoing year. The majority of the respondents – namely, 10% - named “Vysotsky: Thank God I am Alive” as the year’s best film. The film revives several episodes of life of Vladimir Vysotsky, a nonconformist singer of the Soviet epoch. The film “Burned by the Sun-2” by Nikita Mikhalkov is in the second place. Its main character, played by Mr. Mikhalkov himself, is a Soviet former top military commander who serves in a penal battalion during WWII having been falsely accused and wrongfully convicted shortly before the war. The poll’s other top 5 movies include “Avatar” by James Cameron, the Russian comedy “Fir Trees-2” by Timur Bekmambetov and the vampire saga “Twilight”. ...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Mikhail Shvejtser: The Little Golden Calf aka If I Had a Million Rubles - Золотой теленок (1968)

Director: Mikhail Shvejtser
Writers: Ilya Ilf (novel), Yevgeni Petrov (novel),
Stars: Sergei Yursky, Leonid Kuravlyov,Zinoviy Gerdt

The film is a screen adaptation of the cult novel "The Little Golden Calf" by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov. The book is the sequel to "The Twelve Chairs" and both are among the most deservingly famous and adored, wittiest satirical books written during the Soviet period.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Zvyagintsev’s Elena awarded with golden peacock

Nadezhda Markina has been awarded with the golden peacock as the Best Female Actor at the 42nd Goa International Film Festival of India. She played the main character in Zvyagintsev’s Elena. Sasson Gabai was named the Best Male Actor for his work in the Restoration. The Best Film award went to Columbia’s Porfirio. The Best Director award was presented to Iran’s Asghar Farhadi for his Nader and Simin. A Separation. ...

Viacheslav Zlapotsky: The House of Wind -Дом ветра (2011)

Director:Viacheslav Zlapotsky
Cast: Polina Kutepova, Denik Neverov, Valirij Barinov, Elena Morozova

Award-winning psychological drama

Awards :
Prize Stanislav and Andrey Rostotski, Window to Europe Film Festival, Vyborg, Russia, 2011
Audience Award, Festival Russian kino 'Moscow Premier Screenings', Russia, 2011

An ordinary small woman - Taisia Levishna, is the yard cleaner in children’s isolation hospital. She has just found out that her son, who has gone missing at the southern border ten years ago, had actually died. In order to fill in the painful emptiness in her soul, Taya kidnaps a seven-year-old Asian boy called Timur from the hospital. According to the doctor’s diagnose, Timur has got a terminal illness.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Aleksandr Dovzhenko: Zvenigora - Звенигора (1927)

Director: Aleksandr Dovzhenko
Writers: Aleksandr Dovzhenko (supervising writer), Yuri Tyutyunik,
Stars: Georgi Astafyev, Nikolai Nademsky, Vladimir Uralsky

oviet silent film by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko. Regarded as a silent revolutionary epic, Dovzhenko's initial film in his "Ukraine Trilogy" (along with Arsenal and Earth) is almost religious in its tone, relating a millennium of Ukrainian history through the story of an old man who tells his grandson about a treasure buried in a mountain. Although Dovzhenko referred to Zvenigora as his "party membership card," it is full of Ukrainian myth, lore and superstition. ...

Vladimir Petrov: Guilty without Guilt - Без вины виноватые (1945)

Director: Vladimir Petrov
Writers: Aleksandr Ostrovsky (play), Vladimir Petrov
Stars: Alla Tarasova, Viktor Stanitsyn, Boris Livanov

Screen version of the play of the same name by A. N. Ostrovsky. Russia in the middle of XIX. Elena Kruchinina, a famous big-city actress, visits a provincial town where she used to live and was abandoned by her lover with a newly born child. She suffered a severe emotional shock and after recovery learned about her baby’s death. On becoming an actress, Kruchinina became famous. In her native town she gives several performances and renders help to Grigory Neznamov, a young actor. She meets Murov, her child’s father, again and learns that her son is alive. After a chain of dramatic events it turns out that Neznamov is her son. ...

Russian Classics Showcased at IFFI

At the 42nd International Film Festival of India in Goa, a number of Russian classics are being showcased. The films cover a large spectrum; from comedies, musicals, war films to strong authorial cinemas. The film ‘1814’ directed by Andres Puustusmaa is a murder mystery woven around a group of six high school students. An unknown maniac is out killing young women mutilating their bodies with a strange weapon. One of the students witnesses one such crime and the gang decides to solve the mystery. On the other hand, ‘Come and See’ shows the horror of World War II through the eyes of a 13 year old peasant boy. It very sensitively portrays the ill- effects of war, the destruction and death and the vengeance evoked in the heart of the young boy. The ‘Day of the Full Moon’ directed by Karen Shakhnazarov offers a broad look at modern life in the troubled former Soviet Union. It narrates the story of an actor named Oleg, whose neighbor, Arnold has lured his wife away. The film ‘The Mirror’ directed by Andrei Tarkovsky is considered to be his most autobiographical work. It depicts the thoughts and emotions of protagonist Alexei and the world surrounding him. The structure of the film is discontinuous and non-chronological, without a conventional plot and combines childhood memories with newsreel footage. The film switches between three different time frames: pre-war, war time and the post war 1960s. The film won the Special Jury prize at Cannes. ‘Truce’ directed by Svetlana Proskurina shows the anonymous Russian countryside in loose sketches as a surrealistic world in which threat, conflict and violence are a part of everyday life. The film participated in the Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival 2011 and International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2011. Another film in the Russian treat is ‘Uncle Vanya’ directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. It is the story of a retired professor who returns to his estate to live with his beautiful young wife, Yelena. ...

Andrei Konchalovsky: Art can't change the world

He could have been a pianist, but his passion for film won out over his pulse for music. Andrei Konchalovsky, the older brother of Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov, goes by his mother’s maiden name. His beginnings as a screenwriter are tied to Andrei Tarkovsky’s cinematography. During the 1980s, when his films were already known across Europe, he packed his bags and went to Hollywood. There he gained some success with “The Train from Hell,” based on an original script by Akira Kurosawa and “Tango and Cash,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell. He returned after suffering disappointment with the great American machine and its way of understanding cinema.

Russia Beyond the Headlines' Yolanda Delgado caught up with Konchalovsky in Segovia, where the 6th annual Festival of European Cinema was paying tribute to his work in the film industry. They discussed his latest film, “The Nutcracker,” which will be released in December; his transformation as an artist; and the state of the film industry today.

Russia Beyond the Headlines: You have dedicated 50 years to film. What is left of the director who began with Tarkovsky in today’s Konchalovsky? 

Andrei Konchalovsky: I’ve changed everything. We are two different people. At that time, Tarkovsky and I were very young. We thought that art could change the world; now I don’t believe that. At that time, both of us thought we were geniuses; today I know I’m not.

RBTH: What made you change your mind?

A.K.: The prospect of death changes you. What once seemed so important, now means so much less. The idea of death makes everything else relative.

RBTH: What was Tarkovsky like, from what you can tell us about him?

A.K. Tarkovsky was deep. We had a lot of fun. Well, he had less fun. I always liked to laugh, even though I have no sense of humor. Tarkovsky didn’t have one in the literal sense. He was a man who suffered a lot. There is a Russian saying that goes: “Those who suffer live their life like a drama; those who think live their life like a comedy.” I would rather belong to the latter group.

RBTH: Today you showed us a new film, “The Nutcracker.” Animated, in 3D, and for the family audience. You always surprise us with a new genre. Did you want to make it difficult for those who study your films?

A.K.: I like to try new things. Everything I do, I consider to be art; yet I think I am very different from Tarkovsky or [Akira] Kurosawa, people who always make films in a certain genre. I prefer to be like Shakespeare. To feel free. To make dramas, but also adventures, or action movies, too.

RBTH: You commented that you abandoned making movies in Hollywood, where people eat popcorn. But “The Nutcracker” is a children’s film and, inevitably, there will be popcorn.

A.K.: “The Nutcracker” isn’t a film strictly for kids; it’s for the entire family. I don’t think popcorn can help capture what I wanted to convey. I am concerned about the trivialization of the truth that exists in our world. “The Nutcracker” can be interpreted in many ways, including as a representation of totalitarianism with the appearance of real democracy. I call this “ratification.” When the public sees the film, they will know why. 

RBTH: Shortly after “The House of Fools,” you decided to go to Hollywood. It was the 1980s. It coincided with [Martin] Scorsese, [Francis Ford] Coppola, and [Stanley] Kubrick. What can you tell us about the Hollywood that you currently dislike?

A.K.: It’s that none of the directors you cited worked for Hollywood. They weren’t fast-food directors; they didn’t work for McDonalds or Coca-Cola. They made real films. James Cameron, for example, he is in the category of directors that have the scent of popcorn. ...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

7th Week of Russian Cinema opens in Berlin

The film Vysotsky. Thank You for Being Alive opened the 7th Week of Russian Cinema in Berlin marking 20 years since the establishment of partnership ties between the Russian and German capitals. A cult Soviet actor and singer-songwriter of the 1970s, Vyssotsky has been and still is the idol of millions in Russians. On the playbill are Indifference, a lyrical comedy directed by Oleg Flyangolts, Vyacheslav Zlatopolsky’s drama House of Winds, Viktor Shamirov’s ironic comedy Practice in Beauty, and Siberia. Mon Amour, a drama created by director Vyacheslav Ross. The Voice of Russia

Soviet Actresses Now And Then

Soviet Actresses Now And Then: In Soviet Union, there were a lot of actresses whom all the women of the country adored and wanted to be like. Let’s look at them now. Irina Alferova then… Irina Alferova now. Elena Proklova then… Elena Proklova now. Natalia … Read more...

Reviving a great bard - Vysotsky: Thank God I am Alive

Director: Peter Buslov
Cast: Sergei Bezrukov, Oksana Akinshina, Maxim Leonids, Sergei Shakurov, Andrei Panin, Ivan Urgant, Svetlana Kolpakov, Vladimir Kapustin (II),

The recent premiere of a film about Vladimir Vysotsky, a nonconformist Russian poet and singer of the Soviet epoch, came as a real sensation. The premiere took place on November 29. From December 1, the film will be in general release. The film is titled “Vysotsky: Thank God I am Alive”. Probably the main intrigue about the film is that practically no one knows who plays the part of Vysotsky. An artistic makeup and state-of-the-art computer technology make the actor look strikingly like the great bard, and his real face is not seen. The actor’s personality was kept secret for the whole time that the film was made – and it is still kept secret. The name of the performer of the main part is not mentioned in the titles. Vladimir Vysotsky died in 1980, being only 42 years old. Although not very much liked by the Soviet authorities, he was a real idol for the generations of the 1960s and the 1970s. Besides other things, he was a film and theater actor. Theater performances with his participation are still well remembered by those who were lucky to have seen them, and films in which he played are still watched and loved in Russia. However, first of all, Vysotsky was and is known as a performer of songs written mainly by himself. He wrote about 600 songs, many of which were a bit too bold for the Soviet censorship at that time. Polls say that for very many Russians, Vysotsky is the most popular personality of the 20th century. The only person who can compete with him in popularity is Yuri Gagarin, the first cosmonaut. Being persecuted by the Soviet authorities, Vysotsky often fell into depression and took to the bottle. Sometimes, he even took drugs. This is probably why he died at such an early age. Once, when Vysotsky was on a tour in Uzbekistan, which at that time was a part of the Soviet Union, he had a sudden heart attack. His heart even stopped for a while, but, fortunately, doctors managed to save him. One year later, as a result of another heart attack, the singer died. The new film revives this tragic episode in Uzbekistan. “This film is about love, about freedom and about the price one has to pay for freedom,” Vysotsky’s son Nikita says. “The price is really very high, but freedom is worth any price.” This is the first film about Vysotsky which is not a documentary but a feature film, and probably the main difficulty was to make the actor look really like Vysotsky. Spectators may forgive it if somebody who plays a person who has really lived doesn’t look very much like the prototype – but this is not the thing with Vysotsky. He is too well remembered and believed to be too unique for that. “This was the main problem which hampered our work,” one of the producers, Konstantin Ernst, confesses: “We started making the film 5 years ago. For a long time, we looked for an actor who looked like Vysotsky. Finally, we realized that there is no such a person. Still, we didn’t reject our idea. What came in the end is the result of the actor’s really perfect work (I must admit that he feels his character very well), the work of the makeup artists, and up-to-date computer technology. The latter is, by the way, Russia’s know-how. Still, we do not reveal the name of the actor.” In fact, the personality of Vysotsky’s “twin” is not even known by the other actors who played in the film, for he always appeared before them already with the makeup on his face. ...

Высоцкий. Спасибо, что живой -Трейлер №2