Posts Tagged ‘Andrei Tarkovsky’

My Australian friend once told me “You know, I have watched few Russian movies and they are so different… like if you breathe a fresh frosty air in the middle of the desert called mainstream movies”. This emotional response of my friend confused me and I asked if she could describe Russian movies in one word. My friends answer was:

They are cordial.

Is not it extraordinary that someone who lives in the other part of the world and has no Russian background feels such a close connection to Russian cinema?

Have YOU ever seen Russian movies? Probably not…But it is never too late to catch up and the Russian film festival is offering you this opportunity.

The Russian film festival “Russian Resurrection 2010” is taking place in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Sydney. The program of the festival features 17 contemporary films as well as retrospective on the World War II.  This year is the seventh instalment of Russian Resurrection.

The festival will be held till the 5th September in Melbourne, till the 8th September in Brisbane, till the 15th September in Perth and Adelaide and till the 19th September in Canberra. Unfortunately, it has already finished in Sydney on the 1st September.

All movies shown at the film festival can award you with a fascinating experience, what you want to undergo depends just on your choice of a movie. But I would recommend that  you first of all see particular movies. Let me be your guide into Russian movies, since I have Russian background and I wil do my best to suggest the best once for your viewing.

Hard Labor Vacation

Hard Labor Vacation is a comedy filmed in 2009. It features some famous and popular Russian actors and tells about two prisoners who after escaping a jail accidently get into a children summer camp. In the camp they are mistaken for a new-come Pioneer Leaders. And they have to undertake this role in order to not be caught by a police but as they find out later serving time in prison can be safer and less challenging then in the summer camp among energetic and rebellious teenagers.

From my own experience, I can say that the movie is hilarious, however, the humor in the film is quite sophisticated. Hard Labor Vacation is truthful and different to any “glamour” style movie. It  shows ordinary people in a bit unordinary situation, real friendship and relationships between parents and children as well as ability of even an inveterate law-breaker to be off the beam.

Peter on his way to heaven

Made in 2009, Peter on his way to heaven movie totally justifies its genre (drama/comedy) by making the viewer burst out laughing or burst into tears. The movie has won several awards and was celebrated by critics. Peter on his way to heaven is about a young mentally retarded man called Peter. The whole Soviet village participates in trying to make Peter feel important by letting him play into a policeman. The climax starts when Peter tries to catch a fugitive criminal.

I have experienced this movie during Russian Resurrection festival in Sydney. The movie is engaging and challenging, it gives you food for reflection on the theme of a man and a law, how all the people want to be in charge and feel important. What surprises me most is that as a viewer you do not feel sorry for a retarded man, you don’t feel laughing at him as well. The director makes the viewer respect Peter for his kindness, honesty and desire to help everyone.

Ivan’s Childhood

Ivan’s childhood is filmed by a world-known Russian director, Andrei Tarkovsky, in 1962.

During the war everyone faces loss, and twelve year-old Ivan is not an exception. His mother and sister were executed by shooting by Nazis, his father died on a battlefield.   A little boy is desperate to take revenge and his dreams are the only bridge which connects him with lost and so desirable “normal childhood”.

Everybody dies but me

Filmed in 2008 and screened in 2010, Everybody dies but me is directed by a contemporary and controversial Russian female director, Valeriya Gai Germanika. The whole process of filming was controvercial as well. Actors are really fighting and drinking real alcohol. Mostly the filming is hand-held and contains abusive language.

The storyline itself provokes ferocious comments from may viewers. It tells about tree girls who are preparing for a school disco and at the same time do their routine. They want to grow up as soon as possible, however, their parents and teachers obviously do not understand rebellious desire of girls to be counted as  grown-ups. The disco itself is preparing many “surprises” and unexpected situations for girls.

So what can I add now but enjoy!

P.S.I can also mention that the 3D cartoon Belka & Strelka is the first 3D animated film ever made in Russia, so it can be counted as a considerable progress in the Russian film technology.