I love the Eastern European aesthetics in cinema, so I'll try to squeeze in as many of the Russian films as possible. Any tips as to what to seek out are appreciated. The dates have been entered into my Google Calendar of Film Events. Below is the info gleaned from ACMI:
Walking the Streets of
Unclassified 18+, Georgi Daneliya, 78 mins,
Scripted by 1960s icon Gennadi Shpalikov, this light-hearted film follows a day in the life of Kolya (Nikita Mikhalkov), a construction worker not yet out of his teens, and his friends Volodya (Aleksei Loktev), an aspiring writer visiting from
Added to the mix is Alena (Golina Polskikh), a pretty shopgirl to whom Kolya takes an obvious shine, even though Alena seems to only have eyes for his visiting friend.
Thu 17 Apr 2008, 7pm
Fri 25 Apr 2008, 6pm
Battleship Potemkin (Bronenosets Potyomkin)
Unclassified 18+, Sergei M. Eisenstein, 80 mins,
Based on the famous revolt by the crew of a Russian warship, Eisenstein's indictment on the raw brutality of the Tsarist regime has become one of the most influential films of all time.
At the film's centre is the extraordinary Odessa Steps sequence, a scene that inspired other filmmakers to pay homage to Eisenstein's vision, most notably Francis Ford Coppola in The Godfather and Brian de Palma in The Untouchables.
An immortal classic, The Battleship Potemkin gave the young Eisenstein the perfect vehicle to experiment with his theories about montage and with new ideas and filmic realities through the creative juxtaposition of images.
Thu 17 Apr 2008, 9pm
Sun 27 Apr 2008, 6pm
Jolly Fellows (Vesyolye rebyata)
Unclassified 18+, Grigori Aleksandrov, 96 mins,
Yelena (Mariya Strelkova) is an ambitious but untalented singer who mistakes a simple shepherd, Kostya (Leonid Utyosov), for a famous jazz band leader.
When she invites him to accompany her at an upcoming get-together, Kostya readily agrees, but instead of a saxophone he brings along his pan-pipes - as well as most of the animals from his nearby farm.
All is not lost, however, as Yelena's long-suffering servant, Anyuta (Lyubov Orlova) reveals her singing talents.
An enormous success in the
Fri 18 Apr 2008, 7pm
Sat 26 Apr 2008, 6.30pm
Unclassified 18+, Sergei M. Eisenstein & Dmitri Vasilyev, 107 mins,
Superbly photographed by Eduard Tisse with a score by Sergei Prokofiev, Alexander Nevsky is an intense and almost surreal historical epic depicting the battle between good and evil.
Produced as a warning to pre-World War II Germany about the folly of an Eastern invasion, Eisenstein's classic portrayed the inner strength of the Russian people and is regarded as one of Soviet Cinema's great masterpieces.
Fri 18 Apr 2008, 9.15pm
Thu 24 Apr 2008, 7pm
Unclassified 18+, Aleksandr Ptushko, 90 mins,
Sadko (Sergei Stolyarov) embarks on a voyage in search of true happiness, something he's sure must exist in a far-off land. His travels take him to every exotic corner of the globe, as well as to a sprawling undersea kingdom that's a tour-de-force Ptushko creation.
Sat 19 Apr 2008, 3.30pm
Mon 21 Apr 2008, 7pm
The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli)
Unclassified 18+, Mikhail Kalatozov, 98 mins,
Veronika (Tatyana Samojlova) and Boris (Aleksky Batalov) are lovers looking forward to a life together. At the outbreak of World War II, however, Boris is drafted to the army and sent to the front without being given the chance to say goodbye.
In his absence, Veronika succumbs to Boris' cousin Mark and the pair marry, but Boris is never out of Veronika's mind.
Buoyed by cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky's extraordinarily vibrant camerawork, The Cranes Are Flying achieves an almost mythic dimension, as the story of these star-crossed lovers becomes the story of a nation.
Sat 19 Apr 2008, 5.30pm
Fri 25 Apr 2008, 1.30pm
Sat 26 Apr 2008, 8.30pm
Arguably the most accessible of Tarkovsky's films, this philosophical fable employs the roughest outlines of a novel called The Roadside Picnic by Soviet sci-fi writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
A mysterious Zone is said to contain a room that grants wishes; the Stalker will take you there for a fee, past military checkpoints and more obscure dangers.
A clear imprint of this terse, laconic film is still felt in such apocalyptic hits as Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later.
Sat 19 Apr 2008, 7.45pm
Sun 27 Apr 2008, 5.15pm
Uncle Vanya (Dyadya Vanya)
Unclassified 18+, Andrei Konchalovsky, 104 mins,
Anton Chekhov's masterpiece about the breakdown of a family held together by a tissue of lies and self-deceptions is brought to stunning life in this adaptation.
Imbued with powerful symbolism, Konchalovsky's film features an all-star cast including Innokenti Smoktunovsky as Uncle Vanya, Irina Miroshnichenko as Yelena and Sergei Bondarchuk as Dr Astrov.
"The best Uncle Vanya I've ever seen" Woody Allen
Sun 20 Apr 2008, 3pm
Fri 25 Apr 2008, 8pm
The Ascent (Voskhozhdeniye)
Unclassified 18+, Larisa Shepitko, 110 mins,
During the Second World War, two soldiers are separated from their platoon, captured by the Germans and sent to a prison camp. Thus begins two parallel yet connected journeys, as each man struggles with the meaning and value of his own individual life against ideas of patriotism and a commitment to others.
Awarded the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival, The Ascent promoted Larisa Shepitko to the front ranks of international cinema.
Sun 20 Apr 2008, 5.30pm
Sat 26 Apr 2008, 4pm
The Letter Never Sent (Neotpravlennoye pismo)
Unclassified 18+, Mikhail Kalatozov, 97 mins,
Kalatozov's rarely-seen follow-up to The Cranes Are Flying follows a guide and three geologists as they search for diamonds through the virgin forests of
After a long and tiresome journey the team finally discovers a diamond mine. Success comes at a price, however, as they become trapped by a vast forest fire before they can return home.
Again working with cinematographer Sergei Urushevsky, Kalatozov's film is a visual wonder, with the scenes of the forest fire simply unforgettable.
Sun 20 Apr 2008, 7.45pm
Fri 25 Apr 2008, 3.45pm