Russian Films/Themes by Title
|Title||Call ID #
|Andrei Rublev||DVRU 800
||Andrei Rublev Russian (English subtitles) 205 mins. 1973. Immediately suppressed by the Soviets in 1966, Andrei Tarkovsky's epic masterpiece is a sweeping medieval tale of Russia's greatest icon painter. Too experimental, too frightening, too violent, and too political complicated to be released officially, Andrei Rublev existed only in shortened, censored versions until the criterion collection created this complete 205-minute director's cut special edition.
||Andrei Tarkovsky: Russian (English subtitles) 185 mins.1966. The dazzling and harrowing tale of the fifteenth century icon painter who survives the cruelties of medieval Russia to create works of art. As bloody tartar raids, religious brutality, and pagan rites work to quell Rublev's desires and needs, he undertakes a spiritual Odyssey that affirm man's ability to transcend adversity. This restored director's cut is presented in letterbox format.
|The Anna Akhmatova File
||Semeon Aranovitch : Russian (English Subtitles) 65 mins.
(1989). A moving portrait of the extraordinary Soviet poet, Anna
Akhmatova. Although her work was banned and went unpublished for 17
years, her poem 'Requiem' became the underground anthem for the millions
who suffered under Stalin. This film whichses Akhmatova's diaries for
contemporaries-Boris Pasternak, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Mikhail Sostchenko.
|Black & White||VENG 343
||Boris Frumin English. 96 mins. Black & White is the story of Lisa, a young Soviet emigré studying medicine in Manhattan, Roy, an African American building superintendent on New York's Lower Eastside, and the bond that they form from living on the edges of Manhattan. Filled with an assortment of fringe artists, disenfranchised immigrants, diamond dealers and sexual surrogates, the film is ultimately about breaking down the barriers between people. Directed by Russian emigré filmmaker Boris Frumin (Errors of Youth, Viva Castro!), Black and White is a poignant and riveting story of love and the quest for freedom and identity.
|Burnt By the Sun||VRU 308
||Nikita Mikhalkov: Russian (English subtitles) 134 mins. 1995. Nikita Mikhalkov directs and stars as Colonel Serguei Kotov, a hero of the Revolution who is spending the summer in the country with his young daughter (Mikhalkov's real-life daughter), his wife and her eccentric family. But when his wife childhood love suddenly appears, the idyllic summer day takes a surprising turn. A Lyrical film filled with beauty and warmth, Burn By The Sun is also an indelible account of a man dedicated to family and fatherland, cruelly destroyed by political paranoia. 'Visually sumptuous, intellectually stimulating, extraordinarily acted, the movie will burn itself into your memory forever.'
|The Cranes Are Flying||VRU 310
||Mikhail Kalatozov Russian with English subtitles. 95 mins. 1996. A film that marked a radical opening for Soviet cinema; the lighthearted, romantic, lyrical story of a beautiful young girl (Tatiana Samoliova) caught up in the horrors of war. When her fiancé (Alexei Batalov) goes off to war, she marries a man whom she does not love and who raped her, is evacuated to Siberia, and after the war, learns of her fiancé's death. But she refuses to believe it and waits for his return. A great international success which won the Gran Prix at Cannes.
||(THE) Leonid Gaiday Russian (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Hebrew, Swedish, Chinese & Arabic Subtitles) 100 mins. 1968. The plot of this eccentric comedy is based on a newspaper article, found by script co-writer Yakov Kostyukovsky, about the arrest on the Italian border of a criminal who had hidden "gold and diamonds" in the plaster cast. The movie became the absolute box-office leader of 1969 in the Soviet Union. The thrilling adventures of Semyon Gorbunkov, a modest economist, accompanied by a swindler named Count, have captivated several generations of moviegoers.
||Réges Warnier. French/Russian (English subtitles) 125 mins. 1993. From the director of Academy Award -winning Indochine comes another highly acclaimed film. Academy Award -nominated (1999) for Best Foreign Language film, EAST/WEST (EST/OUEST) is a wonderfully imagined film that follows the plight of a young couple and their child as they choose to go back to the Soviet Union in 1946. At the end of the war, Stalin invited Russians who fled the country to return. The talented young doctor Alexei Golovine (Oleg Menchikov), accompanied by his French bride the beautiful Marie (Sandrine Bonnaire) and their son, optimistically returns to the Soviet Union. Their arrival is a rude one. Interrogations are followed by the grim reality of post-war Soviet Union: shared apartments, suspicious neighbors and lack of privacy. Marie soon starts to rebel against the circumstances, but her husband finds that his talents are needed and appreciated by the authorities, so he starts to get ahead. Marie meets up with a touring French actress (Catherine Deneuve), and soon faces a terrifying choice: to leave her husband and child for freedom, or stay and confront a grim future.
|The Errors of Youth||VRU 311
||Boris Frumin Russian w/ English subtitles 87 mins. The Errors of Youth was banned in 1979 because it was found to be too close to 'real' life in the former Soviet Union. Its director, Boris Frumin, emigrated to the U.S.A., leaving the unfinished The Errors of Youth behind. In a historic gesture, he was invited back to Leningrad 11 years later and asked to complete the film. The Errors of Youth is a complex and affecting portrait of a young man adrift in a society of diminished expectations and compromise. Dmitri Gurianov (Stanislav Zhdanko) is a Red Army conscript stationed at a Black Sea resort. Leaving behind the humiliations of army life, he chooses a high paying construction job in Siberia. He starts a love affair with a beautiful, enigmatic co-worker, but they split over the question of parenthood. Dmitri moves to Leningrad and drifts into a life among black marketeers and a marriage of expediency. The Errors of Youth is a remarkable, moving portrait of an entire generation - riveting and profound.
|Freeze, Die Come to Life
||Vitaly Kanevski: Russian (English subtitles) 105 mins.1989. A brilliant Soviet film about the brutal conditions of life in and around Stalinist labor camps as seen through the eyes of two remarkable children. This first feature by Vitaly Kanevski, who also wrote the screenplay and co-produced the film, is based on some of his own experiences during the eight years he spent growing up outside such a camp. With Pavel Nazarov, Dinara Drukarova, Yelena Popova. Awarded the Camera d'Or for the Best Film at Cannes.
|The Inspector General||VRU 301
||Vladimir Petrov: Russian (English subtitles) 130 mins. 1954. Gogol's famous play, performed by members of the Moscow Art Theatre, filmed by Vladimir Petrov. Gogol's work is a satire of provincial corruption in Czarist Russia. An entire town mistakes an illiterate worker for the Czar's Inspector General, and the corrupt officials panic as they believe the man has come to check up on them.
|The Lady With the Dog||VRU 300
||Anton Chekhov: Russian (English subtitles) 89 mins. 1960. Based on Chekov and directed by the Russian master of Chekov adaptations, Josef Heifitz, this bittersweet nostalgic story opens in Yalta at the beginning of the century. A middle aged bank official on vacation encounters a beautiful young woman named Anna who each day walks her dog along the promenade. They drift into an affair, part, return to their homes and unhappy marriages, but Dmitri is haunted by Anna's memory and the two arrange clandestine meetings realizing that they are doomed to a life of brief, secret encounters.
|Moscow Parade||VRU 305
||Ivan Dijkhovichny: Russian ( English Subtitles) 103 mins.1993. Ute Lemper stars in this, the first post-Sovjet film about the Stalin Era. In 1939, she is a young aristocrat married to a hateful chief of the secret police. His forces have murdered her family but she takes advantage of her marriage to enjoy all the luxuries her present life style allows. When she meets a mysterious man and learns of his plans to paint a horse black, her life is thrown in a whirlwind of change.
|The Overcoat||VRU 302
||Alexei Batalov: Russian (English subtitles) 73 min.1959. Roland Bykov delivers a moving performance as the poor degraded clerk in 18th century Russia in this version of Nikolai Gogol's famous short story. Expressionistic in tone, but with a strong dose of realism, it is a commendable adaptation of the story.
|Viy (Spirit of Evil)
Russian (English & French Subtitles). 78 mins. 2000.
This very eerie and stylish Russian horror film went largely unseen for decades. With this video release it should earn a loyal following. Based on a story by Nikolai Gogol, the movie follows a young theology student whose faith is tested when he meets the devil's emissary, "..stunning, with a rich color palette worthy of Mario Bava.. Moments of pure cinema here raise the hairs on the back of your neck" (R.L. Strong, Cornucopia of Film).
Alexander Ptushko was responsible for the eye-catching visual effects.
|The Sea Gull||VRU 303
||Alexei Batalov: Russian (English subtitles) 99 mins.1971. A sensitive exquisitely acted version of Checkov's great play, set in provincial Russia, a penetrating study of the languid melancholia of the residents of an isolated country estate. With Alla Demidova, Lyudmila Saveleyva, Yuri Yakovlev.
|Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
||Sergei Parajanov: Ukrainian ( English subtitles) 99 mins.1984. Based on a Georgian legend, the first feature completed by Sergei Paradjanov after being released from prison. The tale hangs on the self sacrifice of a young man who agrees to be bricked up in a fortress wall in order to make it impregnable against invaders. Paradjanov divides his film into a series of tableaux, once again using minimal dialog and searing imagery in a film of surreal almost hypnotic power.
|Viva Castro!||VRU 312
||Boris Frumin. Russian w/ English subtitles 82 mins. One of the best Russian films of the 1990's, Viva Castro! is set in a small Russian town in 1965. 'At this time Fidel Castro was as important for the Russian people as Elvis Presley was for the Americans,' says the director, Boris Frumin, who returned to Russia after 16 years of exile in America to make this film. Young Kolya is in love with his singing teacher; but his life isn't easy. His father skips town after stealing some coins from a museum and his mother is sent to a labor camp as punishment. When the father returns a year later, Kolya becomes involved with the pretty young woman hired to nurse him. Viva Castro! is a remarkable coming-of-age story which 'shows real life in all its inexplicable mixture of farce and tragedy, cruelty, comedy and romance.'
|White Sun of the Desert
||(THE) Vladimir Motyl Russian (English, French & Arabic Subtitles) 85 mins. 1969 This "Middle-Eastern", or rather a Central-Asian action film about the Red Army fighting the counter-revolutionary robber bands has become not only a cult movie, but also one of the favorites for several generations of viewers. With Russian cosmonauts, it is a tradition to view this film before going to outer space. The film's success paved the way for a genre of national "Eastern". A demobbed soldier, Fyodor Sukhov, is making his way through the desert to his home village. The band of the brutal Abdulla intended to kill his women rather than let them go free. Sukhov's mate, a young soldier Petrukha, dies at the hand of Abdulla.