Russian film Industry is just as active and prolific as Hollywood, but sadly many Russian films are almost unknown outside of Russia and Eastern Europe.
As a student of Russian I am fascinated by Russian films and in particularly with films being produced in the post-Soviet period
Here is my list of 7 amazing and compelling brand new Russian films you really should see
7. Cargo 200
Director: Aleksey Balabanov
Cast: Agniya Kuznetsova, Aleksei Poluyan, Leonid Gromov, Aleksey Serebryakov, Leonid Bichevin, Natalya Akimova, Yuri Stepanov, Mikhail Skryabin, Valentina Andryukova, Alyona Falaleyeva, Yuliya Glazunova
Genre: World Cinema
Original Title: Gruz 200
Aleksey Balabanov’s 2007 film Cargo 200 is easily the most shocking Russian film on the list, if not in my entire DVD collection! Set in 1984 during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and, rather worryingly, based on a true story the plot is simple – a young girl (Agniya Kuznetsova) is kidnapped by the mad police chief of her local town (Aleksei Poluyan) and abused by him in a variety of different ways. An explanation for his conduct stems from a sense of boredom caused by life in provincial Russia during the Brezhnev stagnation
While Cargo 200 may not be the most enjoyable to watch it is a significant film as it’s a Russian film at its most graphic and controversial. Cargo 200 was banned not only in Russia but at film festivals outside of Russia due to its stark and harrowing portrayal of life at this point in the Soviet Union. Cargo 200 is an attempt to look into Russia’s past in order to try to ascertain how the problems in the present were created. For those with an interest in Russia/Soviet history it is worth seeing for its historical examination of the period. This being said Cargo 200 is not a film for anyone under the age of eighteen, anyone of a nervous disposition or anyone who is easily shocked
Director: Boris Khlebnikov, Alexei Popogrebsky
Cast: Gleb Puskepalis, Igor Chernevich, Yevgeni Syty, Vera Sandrykina, Agrippina Steklova, Anna Frolovtseva, Lyubov Rozanova, Vladimir Kucherenko, Aleksandr Ilin, Tatiana Korol, Sergei Kushnarenko
Genre: World Cinema
Original Title: Koktebel
Roads to Koktebel - a 2003 film by directors Boris Khlebnikov and Alexei Popogrebsky – is one of the more abstract films on the list. Koktebel tracks the journey of a father - Igor Chernevich - and his son - Gleb Puskepalis - as they travel together to the Black sea town of Koktebel following the death of his wife. The plot is simple and at times feels to be almost non-existent in the film, but this from the fact that the physical journey is the secondary focus. The main focus is on the bond that develops between the father and son during their adventure and the restoration of relationship
When released Roads to Koktebel found favour with critics and was likened to Tarkovsky’s semi-autobiographical film The Mirror (Zerkalo). The stunning shots of provincial Russia mixed with a soothing soundtrack make Roads to Koktebel a haunting and magnificent Russian film
Director: Andrey Kravchuk
Cast: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Elizaveta Boyarskaya, Sergey Bezrukov, Vladislav Vetrov, Anna Kovalchuk, Egor Beroev, Richard Bohringer, Olga Ostroumova, Oleg Fomin, Anatoliy Pashinin, Kseniya Kuznetsova, Seydulla Moldakhanov
Genre: World Cinema
Original Title: Admiral
Andrey Kravchuk’s 2008 film Admiral follows the love affair between Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak (Konstantin Khabenskiy) and Anna Timireva (Elizaveta Boyarskaya) during the period of 1916-1920 and set against the backdrop of the events of The Revolution and Russian Civil War. Admiral begins in 1964 at Mosfilm studios with an agéd Anna Timireva glazing at a photograph of her younger self while at a rehearsal for a new version of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. As she gazes at the photograph Anna Timireva is reminded of her time with Admiral Kolchak as the film leaps back in time to 1916 where the Admiral is aboard his ship planting mines in the Baltic Sea and the story unfolds from there
Admiral was advertised as the blockbuster to see at the time of release and it was no secret that $22,000,000 that been spent on its production. In many ways Admiral does have the feel of a big budget Hollywood film – the use of special effects, a big name star in the lead role, a slightly mushy love triangle, not to mention the fact that there are definite overtones of James Cameron’s epic film Titanic. Despite these Hollywood elements Admiral remains a very Russian film – the presence of Russian Orthodox ceremonies, the gritty realistic battle scenes, and the balance in focus between the social scenes and the war scenes does echo rather strongly of War and Peace. It is for all of these reasons that Admiral is an excellent film to watch for anyone wishing to ingratiate themselves slowly into the joys of Russian films
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