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Classic Russian Films


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#1 pherank

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 03:45 PM

And here are my recommendations for must-see Russian films (and I'm sure I'm leaving some things out) -

The Color of Pomegranates, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, The Legend of the Surami Fortress (Sergei Paradjanov)

The Cranes Are Flying, I am Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov)

Ballad of a Soldier, The Forty-First (Grigori Chukhrai)

http://dvd.netflix.c...25?trkid=496751

Come and See (Elem Klimov)

The Ascent, Wings (Larisa Shepitko)

Ivan's Childhood (or "My Name is Ivan"), Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky)

The Dawns Here Are Quiet (Stanislav Rostotsky)

Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa with all Russian cast and locals)

Battleship Potemkin, Strike, Alexander Nevsky (Eisenstein)

Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov)

Man With A Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov)

Arsenal (Alexander Dovzhenko)

>> I haven't seen "Stalker" yet (many people like that film)

#2 trieste

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 03:48 PM

Wow, thanks! I had been wanting to get into Russian cinema but was unsure of where to start.

#3 dirac

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 04:37 PM

What a nice idea for a topic, pherank. I'd add "Earth" and "Solaris" to those titles and Boris Barnet's "The House on Trubnaya."

I'm really not a fan of "Alexander Nevsky," however. I find it overblown. I do agree it's a "must see," though. I would substitute "October" or even "Ivan the Terrible."

#4 pherank

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:15 PM

Wow, thanks! I had been wanting to get into Russian cinema but was unsure of where to start.

Yes, you are quite welcome. I forgot to place an asterisk beside "Come and See" as it is one of the most TERRIFYING and shocking films you are likely to ever see. It is not for everyone, and definitely not recommended for kids/adolescents. Period. But it is a cinematic work of art in many ways.

For a short list sampler to start things off, I would recommend:
The Cranes Are Flying, The Color of Pomegranates, Dersu Uzala, Battleship Potemkin and maybe Ivan's Childhood from Tarkovsky.

What a nice idea for a topic, pherank. I'd add "Earth" and "Solaris" to those titles and Boris Barnet's "The House on Trubnaya."

I'm really not a fan of "Alexander Nevsky," however. I find it overblown. I do agree it's a "must see," though. I would substitute "October" or even "Ivan the Terrible."


I generally agree with your recommendations above. I do find "Solaris" to be boring, personally, so it doesn't go on my top list. Perhaps I should just say, "See all the Eisenstein films you can if you've an interest in classic cinema" ;) I see that I typo'd his name above, so I'll fix that...

#5 dirac

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:46 PM

I admire "Solaris" but there are people whose opinion I respect who share your view, so that's more than fair. I did nod off during the Clooney version, although it was a respectable effort.

Perhaps I should just say, "See all the Eisenstein films you can if you've an interest in classic cinema" ;)


Yes. It's a shame to make him sound like required reading, but there it is. (I would add that if necessary you can probably skip the two "Ivans" or at the very least not start with them since they're so uncharacteristic in many ways. I think they're fascinating but they are tough going.)

Thank you for the heads up on "Come and See," I had never heard of it before.

#6 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:50 PM

[size=4][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]I'll second both "Dersu Uzala" and "Solaris" and add Sergei Eisenstein's "Ivan the Terrible" with Prokofiev's wonderful score. I think I've mentioned this before, but many classic Russian films can be watched in their entirety on Mosfilm's YouTube channel. Click the "cc" button in the lower right hand corner of the YouTube screen for subtitles.[/font][/size]

#7 pherank

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 08:29 PM

Thank you for the heads up on "Come and See," I had never heard of it before.

It's kind of like "Ivan's Childhood" on steroids - same general theme, but specifically concerning the Russian partisans fighting German SS units exterminating entire villages in Eastern Russian, Ukraine, etc. So, not an MGM musical. But the cinematic style is very interesting - almost a David Lynch nightmare/dream-scape at times.

[size=4][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]I'll second both "Dersu Uzala" and "Solaris" and add Sergei Eisenstein's "Ivan the Terrible" with Prokofiev's wonderful score. I think I've mentioned this before, but many classic Russian films can be watched in their entirety on Mosfilm's YouTube channel. Click the "cc" button in the lower right hand corner of the YouTube screen for subtitles.[/font][/size]


Thanks Kathleen - free is always good. ;)
I should add, however, that some of these films really deserve to be seen on a large, high-resolution TV screen. "The Cranes Are Flying" and "I Am Cuba" have tremendous black and white cinematography in the Russian Constructivist style, and every shot in "Color of Pomegranates" is a mesmerizing collage of colors and textures with so many little details, that it would be a shame for any of it to be lost. Some of the Eisenstein films may look OK in low res since the transfers are often not very good. But this is an old argument in the world of film. I can say to anyone who has only watched Hitchcock's "Rear Window" on their computer, that they have not seen "Rear Window". Having gone to the theater to the see the restored re-release in the 1980s, I can tell you that the film was created specifically to be shown at a particular size: when shown on a large theater screen, the images of the apartment building look absolutely life-sized as if the viewer is sitting in the apartment with Jimmy Stewart looking across the courtyard at his neighbor's windows. It is an absolutely startling effect. Anyways...Some images surely help:

Color of Pomegranates
http://someofthethin...film-color.html

The Cranes are Flying
http://stefansargent...v-pole-1bg1.jpg
http://classicfilmhe...age/13697104307
http://classicfilmhe...age/13696358292
http://25.media.tumb...zz302o1_500.gif

Ivan's Childhood
http://24.media.tumb...h0vbo1_1280.jpg
http://s3.amazonaws.....jpg?1333382260
http://hopeliesat24f...schildhood1.jpg

Battleship Potemkin
http://4.bp.blogspot...mkin-2-copy.jpg
http://chaplinsmoust...-potemkin-1.jpg
http://24.media.tumb...i7tyo1_1280.png

Dersu Uzala
http://rstvideo.com/...ersu-uzala2.jpg
http://cf2.imgobject...13f59mVpKL1.jpg

#8 dirac

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 11:57 AM

But this is an old argument in the world of film.


Belated thanks for these, pherank. There's no question that movies in general look better when seen in the venues for which they were made, and also that some restored versions can make a great difference in your experience of the film. Even a lesser experience can make converts, though. I think it's a shame in some ways that old movies aren't used any more as filler for late night or afternoon programming. It wasn't the ideal way to see them but it made them hard to miss or avoid. Now, unless you have more than basic cable, they have to be actively sought out in repertory theaters or DVD.

I can tell you that the film was created specifically to be shown at a particular size: when shown on a large theater screen, the images of the apartment building look absolutely life-sized as if the viewer is sitting in the apartment with Jimmy Stewart looking across the courtyard at his neighbor's windows.


Right. When Raymond Burr finally twigs and gazes directly at Stewart's window, he's looking right at you.

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 11:05 PM

I am Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov)


Definitely.



#10 pherank

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:09 AM

Belated thanks for these, pherank. There's no question that movies in general look better when seen in the venues for which they were made, and also that some restored versions can make a great difference in your experience of the film. Even a lesser experience can make converts, though. I think it's a shame in some ways that old movies aren't used any more as filler for late night or afternoon programming. It wasn't the ideal way to see them but it made them hard to miss or avoid. Now, unless you have more than basic cable, they have to be actively sought out in repertory theaters or DVD.


I do find myself loving the TCM channel these days - they are able to find so many rare films (many of which are not avaialble on DVD). Once upon a time, they were notorious for trying to colorize all the black and white films, but they seem to have grown a great deal since those amateurish times.

#11 pherank

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:12 AM


I am Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov)

Definitely.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BhMGrdA2Ag&feature=related


I had forgotton how hallucinatory that (opening?) scene was. I think it is because they are using a wide angle lens to photograph all these forground figures - it makes the humans in the scene look plastic, and unreal, whereas the sky, clouds, and panorama are 'real'. A great looking film.

#12 dirac

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

I do find myself loving the TCM channel these days - they are able to find so many rare films (many of which are not avaialble on DVD). Once upon a time, they were notrious for tyring to colorize all the black and white films, but theh seem to have grown a great deal since those amateurish times.


Yes, colorizing was Ted Turner's bright idea. Without him we wouldn't have the channel, though - at least those of us who can afford a cable package that includes it.

#13 pherank

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:59 PM

Yes, colorizing was Ted Turner's bright idea. Without him we wouldn't have the channel, though - at least those of us who can afford a cable package that includes it.

Yes, there is always that problem. ;)
I suppose you are better off saving up for ballet performances anyway - TV doesn't do much for mind or soul.

#14 dirac

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:50 PM

It's off topic, but I have to say in defense of the teevee that there's a lot of good writing and acting to be found these days. And of course guilty pleasures - I know I shouldn't spend valuable time watching "Doomsday Preppers," but there you are. :)

#15 pherank

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 07:12 PM

It's off topic, but I have to say in defense of the teevee that there's a lot of good writing and acting to be found these days. And of course guilty pleasures - I know I shouldn't spend valuable time watching "Doomsday Preppers," but there you are. Posted Image


Happiness is where you find it! I do enjoy Mad Men, Downton Abbey and that sort of thing myself. Enjoy your Preppers. ;)


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