From the October Revolution to Perestroika, cinema in the Soviet Union played a crucial role in defining (and re-defining) the Soviet Spirit. Naturally these films were produced and distributed according to the changing whims of the Communist Party. A film that was lauded by one leader would be denounced by his successor. [For example, Sergei Eisenstein's October: Ten Days That Shook The World was commissioned by the government for the tenth anniversary of the Revolution. After Trotsky fell out of favor with Stalin, Eisenstein was forced to re-edit the film, removing all references to him.] Nevertheless, Soviet filmmakers created a number of landmark films despite these challenges. Their work has had a lasting impact on the craft of filmmaking and continues to influence directors today.
Dziga Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera, with it's numerous double exposures and jump cuts, sought to explore the reality and unreality created by the act of filming and in doing so, awaken the Soviet people to a film that portrays 'life as it is lived.' This film stands as one of the quintessential art films of its day.
Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (1925), about a crew's rebellion against its Czarist officers was hailed as one of the greatest films of all time by the 1958 World's Fair. Even Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda officer, called it "a marvellous film without equal &hellip anyone who had no firm political conviction could become a Bolshevik after seeing the film."
Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 classic, Solaris, a Sci-Fi drama about strange occurences aboard the space station orbiting the planet Solaris. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury and was nominated for the Palme d'Or. Although it never saw widespread distribution in the USSR, the film continues to be a Sci-Fi classic. And Mark Levinson's Prisoner Of Time (1993) provides a chilling yet hopeful glimpse of Russia's uneasy relationship with its Soviet past and its vision for the future.
$24.95 | 97 minutes
Released for the first time on home video, Mark Levinson's PRISONER OF TIME (1993) is a fastball thrown beyond indiewood's radar. Starring the renowned Russian actress Yelena Koreneva (reminiscent here of a Russian Isabelle Huppert) as a former dissident author caught in a post-glasnost netherworld trance, PRISONER takes none. With its…
$23.95 | 260 minutes
Spanning more than six decades of Russian history encompassing the Bolshevik Revolution, two World Wars and the era of modernization, SIBERIADE is Andrei Konchalovsky's (Runaway Train) passionate and ambitious examination of the Soviet spirit, as represented in two families of opposing ideologies: the proletariat Ustyuzhanins and the&hellip…