Instructional Media Center

• November Feature - Russian Film •


Man with a Movie Camera - PN1995.9.R8 M35 2003 DVD
Dziga Vertov tests the limits of silent film form with this dawn-to-dusk study of Soviet city life.  Maya Deren, MTV and flashy beer commercials all owe a debt to this 1929 funhouse of a film.

The Battleship PotemkinPN1995.75 .B37 2007 DVD   
Sergei Eisenstein’s “The Battleship Potemkin” is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of silent film and the pinnacle of the Russian genre.  Equally known for both its cinematic achievements and influential propaganda message, the movie has become a staple of academic study. 

October (Ten days that shook the world) - DK265 .O27 1998 DVD
Sergei Eisenstein was commissioned for this film celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, based on his success with Battleship Potemkin.  Eisenstein used the opportunity to push his montage style filmmaking, alienating many of his fans and infuriating Stalin who had the film heavily censored. In 1967 a full restoration was made, and a music score by Shostakovich and sound effects track were added.

Ivan the Terrible pt. I & II - DK106 .I83 2001 DVD   
Originally conceived as a 3-part epic, Eisenstein only lived to make the first two.  Part 1 is viewed largely as his reluctant continuation of pro-communist dogma, filmed as Hitler’s troops approached Moscow.  Part 2 was banned by Stalin for its negatively paralleled congruence and remained shelved until 5 years after Eisenstein’s death.  With a score by Prokofiev and a visually stunning cinematography, the films remain prominent in the canon of historical Russian cinema.

Eisenstein and Stalin - PN1993.5.S69 E58 2006 DVD
Drawing on sixty volumes of diaries and other recently revealed archival materials, this program presents the struggle between Joseph Stalin and Sergei Eisenstein, who fought for freedom of expression in a climate of exiles and executions. Rare clips of the preeminent Russian director's controversial films and interviews with the director of the Eisenstein Museum, friends, associates, and former students underscore the coercive power of Stalin's authoritarian regime.

The last conversation:  Eisenstein's Carmen ballet
- GV1785.E58 C37 2006 DVD
A documentary on and a re-enactment of the miniature ballet created in 1947 by the famous Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein. A distillation of the final scene of Bizet's opera Carmen, Eisenstein's duet for two Bolshoi dancers was one of the last creative acts of this 20th century artistic giant. This video follows the re-creation of Eisenstein's ballet, reconstructed by noted dance historian and author Sally Banes in collaboration with the dancers Galina Zakrutkina of the Kirov Ballet and James Sutton

Solaris - PN1995.9.R8 S6 2002 DVD  
Andrei Tarkovsky’s adaptation of the science fiction novel by author Stanislaw Lem (not to be confused with the unremarkable Soderbergh 2002 remake).  Ground control has been receiving strange transmissions from the three remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to investigate, he experiences the strange phenomena that afflict the Solaris crew, sending him on a voyage into the darkest recesses of his own consciousness.

Andrei RublevPN1995.9.R8 S6 2002 DVD  
Another Tarkovsky classic - according to wikipedia “In 1965, he directed the film Andrei Rublev about the life of Andrei Rublev, the 15th century Russian icon painter. Andrei Rublev was not immediately released after completion due to problems with Soviet authorities. Tarkovsky had to cut the film several times, resulting in several different versions of varying lengths. A version of the film was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969 and won the FIPRESCI prize. The film was officially released in the Soviet Union in a cut version in 1971.”  DVD includes rare interviews with the filmmaker.

StalkerPG3476.S78835 P552 2000 DVD
The last film Tarkovsky completed in the Soviet Union, inspired by the novel Roadside Picnic by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.  Metaphysical sci-fi slowed down to a snail's pace.  The snail is Russian, so it's all vaguely menacing and important.

Nostalghia - PN1995.9.I8 N68 1998 DVD
The first Tarkovsky movie made without the backing of the USSR - he would soon defect permanently.  According to IMDB, “The Russian poet Gortchakov, accompanied by guide and translator Eugenia, is traveling through Italy researching the life of an 18th century Russian composer. In a ancient spa town, he meets the lunatic Domenico, who years earlier had imprisoned his own family in a barn to save them from the evils of the world. As Eugenia seeks to tempt Gortchakov into infidelity, he, seeing some deep truth in Domenico's act, becomes drawn to the lunatic. In a series of dreams, the poet's nostalgia for his homeland and his longing for his wife, his ambivalent feelings for Eugenia and her Italy, and his sense of kinship with Domenico become intertwined.”

War and Peace - PG3363.A7 W37 2000z DVD  
Sergei Bondarchuk's Soviet-Italian coproduction took seven years to complete, at a record cost of over $100 million (in 1967!). Many critics say this is the most faithful of adaptations perhaps for the sheer length and scale, coming in at just under seven hours.  Watch it on the big screen because this movie is epic on all accounts.  Winner of the Academy Award for best foreign film.  Interestingly, Bondarchuk never made it back to feature film choosing to work on war and history documentaries.

Russian ArkPN1995.9F67 R877 2003 DVD  
This single-take trek through St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum, orchestrated by contemporary Russian master Aleksander Sokurov, is part stunt, part endurance test, and part abstruse history lesson.

AleksandraPN1997.2.A44 2009 DVD
An elderly woman has come to see her beloved grandson, a young officer stationed at a remote military outpost in Chechnya. With the enemy just beyond the compound, she wanders the barracks, observing the routines of military life, before making a sudden trip into the outlying countryside, observing a land laid to waste.

Animated Soviet Propaganda - D744.55 .A65 2006 DVD  
From the 1920s to the 1980s, the Soviet regime ordered the production of dozens of animated propaganda films. Their target audience was the Soviet Union itself, and their goal was to win the hearts and minds of the Soviet people. Commentary by leading Soviet film scholars.

Early Russian cinema - PN1993.5.R9 E3759 2007 DVD 
A collection of Russian films made before the revolution, dating from 1908 to 1917.

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