The Stone Flower (1946)

ALEKSANDR PTUSHKO Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  Original title: Kamennyy tsvetok USSR, 1946 .  Mosfilm.   Screenplay by Pavel Bazhov, Ivan Keller.  Cinematography by Fyodor Provorov.   Music by Lev Shvarts.  Production Design by Aleksandr Ptushko.  Costume Design by Olga Kruchinina.   Film Editing by M. Kuzmina.  Soviet producers draw homegrown audiences away from the lure of…

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The Mirror (1975)

ANDREI TARKOVSKY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.   Original title:  Zerkalo USSR, 1975.  Mosfilm. Screenplay by Andrei Tarkovsky, Aleksandr Misharin.  Cinematography by Georgi Rerberg.  Produced by Erik Waisberg.  Music by Eduard Artemev.  Production Design by Nikolay Dvigubskiy.  Costume Design by Nelli Fomina.  Film Editing by Lyudmila Feyginova. This one is Andrei Tarkovsky for advanced students.  A non-linear narrative structure, little explanation of context for many…

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Battle Beyond The Sun (1959)

MIKHAIL KARZHUKOV, ALEKSANDR KOYZR, FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  Original title:  Nebo Zovyot USSR, 1959.  A.P. Dovzenko Filmstudio, Mosfilm.  Screenplay by Mikhail Karzhukov, Yevgeni Pomeshchikov, Aleksey Sazonov.  Cinematography by Nikolai Kulchitsky.  Produced by Roger Corman.  Music by Carmine Coppola, Yuli Meitus.  Production Design by T. Kulychichkaya.  Film Editing by L. Mkhitaryyanch.   Francis Ford Coppola was assigned the task of taking…

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Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears (1979)

VLADIMIR MENSHOV Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  Original title:  Moskva Slezam Ne Verit USSR, 1979.  Mosfilm, Vtoroe Tvorcheskoe Obedinenie. Screenplay by Valentin Chernykh, Vladimir Menshov.  Cinematography by Igor Slabnevich.  Music by Sergey Nikitin.  Production Design by Said Menyalshchikov. Costume Design by Zhanna Melkonyan.  Film Editing by Yelena Mikhajlova.   The lives of three young women in contemporary Soviet Russia are examined in…

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Viy (1967)

GEORGI KROPACHYOV, KONSTANTIN YERSHOV Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  USSR, 1967.  Luch, Mosfilm.  Screenplay by Konstantin Ershov, Georgi Kropachyov, Aleksandr Ptushko, based on the story by Nikolai Gogol.  Cinematography by Viktor Pishchalnikov, Fyodor Provorov.  Music by Karen Khachaturyan.  Production Design by Nikolay Panasev.  Costume Design by Roza Satunovskaya.  Film Editing by R. Pesetskaya, Tamara Zubova.   Classic Soviet horror film features an Orthodox…

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Agony: The Life And Death Of Rasputin (1981)

ELEM KLIMOV Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5.  Original title:  Agoniya Alternate title:  Rasputin USSR, 1981.  Mosfilm.  Screenplay by Semyon Lungin, Ilya Nusinov.  Cinematography by Leonid Kalashnikov.  Music by Alfred Shnitke.  Production Design by Shavkat Abdusalamov, Sergey Voronkov.  Costume Design by Tatyana Vadetskaya.  Film Editing by Valeriya Belova.   Agony is what some audience members might be feeling should they be subjected to the…

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The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

MIKHAIL KALATOZOV Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB Original title:  Letjat Zhuravli USSR, 1957.  Mosfilm.  Screenplay by Viktor Rozov, based on his play.  Cinematography by Sergey Urusevskiy.  Produced by Mikhail Kalatozov.  Music by Moisey Vaynberg.  Production Design by Evgeniy Svidetelev.  Costume Design by Leonid Naumov.  Film Editing by Mariya Timofeeva.   Imagine if The Umbrellas of Cherbourg wasn’t a musical and was photographed in dreamy…

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I Am Cuba (1964)

MIKHAIL KALATOZOV Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBBB Original title:  Soy Cuba USSR/Cuba, 1964.  Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industrias Cinematográficos, Mosfilm.  Screenplay by Enrique Pineda Barnet, Evgeniy Evtushenko.  Cinematography by Sergey Urusevskiy.  Music by Carlos Farinas.  Production Design by Evgeniy Svidetelev.  Costume Design by Rene Portocarrero.  Film Editing by Nina Glagoleva.   This masterpiece did not surface in the western world until…

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The Ascent (1977)

LARISA SHEPITKO Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5 Original title:  Voskhozhdeniye USSR, 1977.  Trete Tvorcheskoe Obedinenie, Mosfilm.  Screenplay by Yuri Klepikov, Larisa Shepitko, based on the novel Sotnikov by Vasiliy Bykov.  Cinematography by Vladimir Chukhnov, Pavel Lebeshev.  Music by Alfred Shnitke.  Production Design by Yuriy Raksha.  Film Editing by Valeriya Belova.   A group of partisan soldiers struggle to survive the Russian cold during the…

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Wings (1966)

LARISA SHEPITKO Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.   Original title:  Krylya USSR, 1966.  Mosfilm.  Screenplay by Valentin Ezhov, Natalya Ryazantseva.   Cinematography by Igor Slabnevich.   Music by Roman Ledenyov.   Production Design by Ivan Plastinkin.   Costume Design by A. Dokuchayeva.  Film Editing by L. Lysenkova.   A middle-aged headmistress of a Soviet school questions her methods after expelling a student who refuses to…

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Dersu Uzala (1975)

AKIRA KUROSAWA Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  USSR/Japan, 1975.  Atelier 41, Daiei Studios, Mosfilm, Trete Tvorcheskoe Obedinenie.  Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, Yuriy Nagibin, based on the novel Dersu, Okhotnik by Vladimir Arsenev.  Cinematography by Fyodor Dobronravov, Yuriy Gantman, Asakazu Nakai.  Produced by Yoichi Matsue.  Music by Isaac Schwarts.  Production Design by Yuriy Raksha.  Costume Design by Tatyana Lichmanova.  Film Editing by Valentina Stepanova.  …

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Stalker (1979)

ANDREI TARKOVSKY Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.   USSR, 1979.  Mosfilm, Vtoroe Tvorcheskoe Obedinenie.  Screenplay by Arkadiy Strugatskiy, Boris Strugatskiy, based on their novel Piknik Na Obochine.  Cinematography by Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, Georgi Rerberg.  Produced by Aleksandra Demidova.  Music by Eduard Artemev.  Production Design by Aleksandr Boym, Andrei Tarkovsky.  Costume Design by Nelli Fomina.  Film Editing by Lyudmila Feyginova. Not for the faint of heart, but…

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