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Russia/USSR Challenge (Official, September 2020)

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clemmetarey
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Russia/USSR Challenge (Official, September 2020)

#1

Post by clemmetarey » August 30th, 2020, 5:12 pm

привет!


Image

Image


Image From Metamorphosis (2002)

Image From Faust (2011)

Goal:
Watch as many Russian (including Soviet) films as possible in the month of September 2020.

Rules:

- A feature film (Anything over 40 minutes) counts as one entry
- A total of 60 minutes of short films count as one entry
- For Mini-Series (40 minute episodes or longer) each episode counts as an entry.
- For Mini-Series with shorter episodes (25 minutes or so), the 60 minute rule applies.
- "Regularly occurring" television programs ineligible, i.e.; only Mini-Series/Limited Series/One-Offs/Made-for-TV films, &c.
- Soviet era films from the various Republics eligible.
- Post-Soviet era films from former Republics are ineligible.
- Rewatches allowed.

Previous editionsShow
2019 Challenge - hosted by funkybusiness and won by jeroeno with 63 points
2018 Challenge - hosted by funkybusiness and won by jeroeno with 60 points
2015 Challenge - hosted by funkybusiness and won by sushantv10 with 41 points
2014 Challenge - hosted by Nopros and won by 3eyes and Armoreska with 15 points
2013 Challenge - hosted by Gershwin and won by Armoreska with 65 points
2012 Challenge - hosted by Nopros and won by 3eyes with 33 points
2011 Challenge - hosted by Nopros and won by Nopros with 40 points

Official iCM lists:
Russian Guild of Film Critics's Best Russian Films

Empire Russia's 100 Best Russian Films: Readers' Choice

Unofficial lists:
Seance's Best Russian Films
Local Heros megalist 1000+ Quintessential Russian Movies
Golden 100 of Russian animation
100 Classics of Russian and Eastern European Cinema
Soviet and Russian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Ministry of Culture's 100 Russian Movies Recommended for Pupils
Movies on Mosfilm.ru free for streaming with English subtitles

Streaming:
Mosfilm's Youtube Channel
RVision's Youtube Channel
RVision but in English?
Lenfilm's Youtube Channel
Classic Soviet Film's Youtube Channel

товарищи:
рангтоварищфильмы
1sol28
2St. Gloede23
3jdidaco16
4blueboybob15
5Melvelet9
6Mario Gaborović8
772aicm5
8AB5374
9cinephage3
9flavo50003
9hurluberlu3
9peedtoad3
13Local Hero2
13maxwelldeux2
13ororama2
16allisoncm1
16morrison-dylan-fan1
16Onderhond1
16sebby1
20clemmetarey

114

Спасибо funkybusiness whose 2019 OP I used :thumbsup:
Last edited by clemmetarey on September 17th, 2020, 1:21 pm, edited 20 times in total.

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#2

Post by clemmetarey » August 30th, 2020, 5:18 pm

Putting this in a new message so it can be seen. Please when listing your viewings include a rating, a full review or just a few words, an emoji, something that allows the other participants to know how you felt about the film. The goal of these challenges is also to explore and exchange, you may have seen the next 500<400 darling but we'll miss it if you don't bring to our attention this title in particular is worth checking out. So let's keep things interactive. :)

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#3

Post by hurluberlu » August 30th, 2020, 5:48 pm

Glad to see Faust (2011) as introductory poster ! One of my favourite of all time, which always does poorly in our polls/lists.
:cheers: (vodka)
#JeSuisCharlie Liberté, Liberté chérie !

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#4

Post by 72aicm » August 30th, 2020, 6:21 pm

I’m in. I’ll try to get bronze on the new official list.

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#5

Post by mjf314 » August 30th, 2020, 6:22 pm

If anyone is looking for a good Russian animated film (so you can count it for both challenges), I recommend Laughter and Grief by the White Sea. It's only 59 minutes, and it's available on Youtube here.

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#6

Post by blueboybob » August 30th, 2020, 9:50 pm

When you say USSR, you do not mean modern countries right? IE can't count a Yugoslavian film?

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#7

Post by St. Gloede » August 30th, 2020, 10:44 pm

I'll join in and give a focus to a few Soviet directors, as well as a few Soviet silent overlaps, and possibly expand out as I did with the German challenge.

With directors I'll probably start with a focus on either Alexandre Mitta or Andrey Konchalovskiy.

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#8

Post by St. Gloede » August 30th, 2020, 10:47 pm

blueboybob wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 9:50 pm
When you say USSR, you do not mean modern countries right? IE can't count a Yugoslavian film?
It would be interesting to do a Soviet and ex-Soviet challenge, or just an ex-Soviet challenge to look at similarities, but as it is Russia +Soviet, only the films produced in the USSR count.

(Yugoslavia was never part of the USSR btw, and is not an existing country, granted, it lasted longer, at least in name).

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#9

Post by clemmetarey » August 31st, 2020, 8:58 am

hurluberlu wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 5:48 pm
Glad to see Faust (2011) as introductory poster ! One of my favourite of all time, which always does poorly in our polls/lists.
:cheers: (vodka)
One of my all time favorite too :cheers: (на здоровье!)

blueboybob wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 9:50 pm
When you say USSR, you do not mean modern countries right? IE can't count a Yugoslavian film?
St. Gloede already answered, but just to confirm, modern countries are excluded. So nothing from modern Armenia, Belarus, Moldavia, Ukraine and such.

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#10

Post by St. Gloede » August 31st, 2020, 9:01 am

Not seen Faust, or many Sokurov films, as I did not much care for the first film(s) I saw from him - but I would be up for giving him another chance this challenge - been a long time, and I love the screenshot.

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#11

Post by clemmetarey » August 31st, 2020, 9:45 am

I guess that mean you didn't like Russian Ark, another one of my all time favorite :angry:

Judging by his oeuvre's performance in our 500<400 list his films are well appreciated here. My other two favorites of his are Whispering Pages (1994) and The Second Circle (1990). I might also use this opportunity to watch more of his films, I'm still missing some of his more famous stuff.

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#12

Post by St. Gloede » August 31st, 2020, 10:53 am

Oh, Russian Ark is actually one I liked, though I didn't love it. I could give it a rewatch!

Will see what I think about Faust first, maybe catch a few others, and then see.

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#13

Post by flavo5000 » August 31st, 2020, 3:15 pm

St. Gloede wrote:
August 31st, 2020, 10:53 am
Oh, Russian Ark is actually one I liked, though I didn't love it. I could give it a rewatch!

Will see what I think about Faust first, maybe catch a few others, and then see.
Russian Ark is actually a little bit of an anomaly in his filmography. Due to its one-take gimmick, it has a much brisker pace compared to everything else I've seen by him (and I've seen quite a few Sokurov films).

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#14

Post by sol » September 1st, 2020, 10:12 am

It starts! First in. :D

1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)

Image

Resistance gradually turns to enthusiasm as a photographer introduces cinema to an Old West town in this comedy set circa 1900. There are many good laughs at the expense as the cowboys reacting to the Lumière Brothers' Arrival of the Train with guns blazing as they try to shoot the screen to stop the train hitting them! Alas, the film derives most of its humour from brawling, messy fights and several racially insensitive caricatures.
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#15

Post by sol » September 2nd, 2020, 9:11 am

From Russia with LoveShow
1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)

2. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)

Image

This comedy has an on-point redistribution of wealth theme and the cars themselves feel symbolic of capitalist gains. Politics aside though, it is funny and well shot. A slow police pursuit in a school zone is hilarious and there are some intense bits as the thief's foot gets caught in a trap, with him stuck suddenly. The noir-like black and white photography is also divine and the jazzy music suits well craziness like lifting up an entire garage to steal a car.
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#16

Post by Mario Gaborović » September 2nd, 2020, 2:03 pm

No post-Soviet films? But which challenge they would be put into?

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#17

Post by sol » September 2nd, 2020, 2:21 pm

Mario Gaborović wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 2:03 pm
No post-Soviet films? But which challenge they would be put into?
Yeah, we already covered this on the Future Challenges thread: viewtopic.php?p=659180#p659180

You'll have all the time in the world to watch ex-Soviet films in the respective East European and Central Asian Challenges next year. :thumbsup:
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#18

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » September 2nd, 2020, 2:35 pm

1. The House I Live In (Dom, v kotorom ya zhivu)(Kulidzhanov, Segel, 1957) — Feels like a mish-mash of better Soviet films. Но бывает хуже.
Last edited by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi on September 2nd, 2020, 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#19

Post by peeptoad » September 2nd, 2020, 3:55 pm

1. Idi I smotri (1985) Come and See 9

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#20

Post by blueboybob » September 2nd, 2020, 6:11 pm

1. Children in the Universe (1975)

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#21

Post by sol » September 3rd, 2020, 10:31 am

From Russia with LoveShow
1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)
2. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)

3. Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)

Image

I found the central story engaging here if often quite silly (it is built around characters doing the most foolish of things). The humour is perhaps best comparable to an episode of Scooby Doo with madcap chases, sped-up footage and villains who are too goofy to pose any real threat. At its best, the film is hilarious with some nifty reversed footage and all of the failed kidnapping attempts. Quite a bit of humour is rather lame, but I liked this overall.
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#22

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » September 3rd, 2020, 12:15 pm

2. Dust (Pyl')(Loban, 2005) -- Affectedly strange film that slowly works its way toward a political, existential, nihilistic melange of ideas. It's Eraserhead meets Raising Arizona meets Stalker, yet it's nowhere near as good as any of those films.

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#23

Post by Mario Gaborović » September 3rd, 2020, 2:43 pm

01. Stachka (1925)

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#24

Post by sol » September 3rd, 2020, 3:03 pm

From Russia with LoveShow
1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)
2. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)
3. Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)

4. Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)

Image

While the protagonist's adventures here smack of childish wish fulfillment, the film never really explores this, instead going for a range of sword and sorcery clichés and a dull villain. Some of the images at hand are hard to shake, most notably a large, floating bearded head, but it is hard not to find something creepy in the overall tale of a boy accepting a ride from an old man, only to run up and hug the first stranger he meets at his destination.
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#25

Post by Melvelet » September 3rd, 2020, 4:50 pm

I plan to focus on 1000<400 movies and especially non-Russian Soviet movies. A bit sad that their post-Soviet movies are not included in this challenge

1. Nevestka 1972 — a.k.a. The Daughter-In-Law 8-/10
A little gem from Turkmenistan about a woman taking care of he stepfather in the desert while waiting for her (deceased) husband to return from WWII. Heavier on mood than on plot, following the prominent Soviet theme of sacrifice and suffering during wartime. It deserves to be seen as something more than a Conquer the World entry for an obscure country but is a worthy entry for that purpose.

2. Trys dienos 1991 — a.k.a. Three Days 8/10
Finally got around to watching my first Bartas film. Going even a step up in the direction of Nevestka (or two) this is the kind of movie where I always wonder whether I would appreciate more or less when I would simply watch it on a different day, in a different mood. What I can say for sure though is that it worked for me today and the movie's tense atmosphere managed to grip my attention. Reading a one-sentence summary of the plot might have helped me compared to my puzzled (and bored) gf. The reviews that I read find words of explicit beauty while the movie's beauty is rather implicit. But it's certainly there in-between the lifeless industrial landscape.
SpoilerShow
1. Nevestka 1972 — a.k.a. The Daughter-In-Law 8-/10
2. Trys dienos 1991 — a.k.a. Three Days 8/10
Current recommendation: Angela (1995)


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#26

Post by AB537 » September 4th, 2020, 4:12 am

1. Beloye solntse pustyni - White Sun of the Desert (Vladimir Motyl, 1970) 7/10 ... interesting start to the challenge, with a Soviet spaghetti ... eastern?

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#27

Post by Melvelet » September 4th, 2020, 10:06 am

3. Kin-dza-dza! (1986) 8/10
An absurdist sci-fi comedy from an alternative reality in which Terry Gilliam was a Soviet. I'm a bit surprised that this is not on any Top 1000 lists and not in TSPDT 2000, the ingredients are there and the recipe works and is memorable. My gf and me have been greeting my family members with a hearty KOO since yesterday evening and are singing that ugly Mummy Mummy song several times per hour. I don't have any other Georgiy Daneliya movies on my extended Soviet watchlist but I might reconsider if they have a similar sense of humour
SpoilerShow
1. Nevestka 1972 — a.k.a. The Daughter-In-Law 8-/10
2. Trys dienos 1991 — a.k.a. Three Days 8/10
3. Kin-dza-dza! (1986) 8/10
Current recommendation: Angela (1995)


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#28

Post by sol » September 4th, 2020, 11:26 am

From Russia with LoveShow
1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)
2. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)
3. Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)
4. Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)

5. Assassin of the Tsar (1991)

Image

Opening with a modern day Russian recounting how he assassinated a Tsar and how he himself subsequently died, this Soviet drama gets off to a nicely offbeat start. As it turns out, he is a mental patient, but with stigmata-like wounds and scars, could he be sane? Rather than indulge in the "is he or isn't he?" dynamic, focus soon shifts to his narrated recollections of everything in the past, which leads to good historical insight, but nothing too intriguing.
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#29

Post by blueboybob » September 4th, 2020, 1:25 pm

2. For Luck (1917) [Russia]
3. Life of the Jews of Palestine (1913) [Russia]

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#30

Post by peeptoad » September 4th, 2020, 2:28 pm

2. Alenkiy tsvetochek (1978)The Scarlet Flower 7
просмотренные фильмыShow
1. Idi I smotri (1985) Come and See 9

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#31

Post by sol » September 4th, 2020, 3:25 pm

From Russia with LoveShow
1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)
2. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)
3. Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)
4. Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)
5. Assassin of the Tsar (1991)

6. The Commissar (1967)

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While there is little fighting, war is pivotal here with gorgeous low camera angles that capture how daunting all the tanks are. The entire film though is incredibly well shot with great gradual tilts, and the intimate camerawork as the family's daughter is persecuted by other kids (an unforgettable scene) is just stunning. The film blurs memories and fantasies well too as the Commissar's mind wanders when giving birth... which may not be as "easy" as war.
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#32

Post by jdidaco » September 4th, 2020, 5:30 pm

Thank you for hosting, clemmetarey!

(Couldn't have started on a higher note, screnshots from 'Kuldigas Freskas' & 'Byl mesyats may'),

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1. Kuldīgas Freskas (Kuldiga Frescoes, Aivars Freimanis, 1966) 9.5/10
2. Misteriya-Buff (Mystery-Bouffe, David Cherkasskiy, 1969) 8.5/10
3. Byl mesyats may (It Was in May, Marlen Khutsiev, 1970) 9.5/10
4. Maugli (The Adventures of Mowgli, Roman Davydov, 1973) 8/10

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#33

Post by allisoncm » September 5th, 2020, 12:13 am

1. Moskva-Kassiopeya (1974) 6/10

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#34

Post by sol » September 5th, 2020, 1:15 am

From Russia with LoveShow
1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)
2. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)
3. Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)
4. Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)
5. Assassin of the Tsar (1991)
6. The Commissar (1967)

7. Za Schastem (1917)

Image

While technically quite advanced for a silent film of its vintage (all of the cutaways, reactions shots and changes of shot distance make this feel like something from the 20s rather than the 10s), the story here is decidedly second-rate with love triangle melodrama mess. Sickly daughter is in love with her mother's boyfriend; how can this be resolved? And will her failing eyesight get better or worse? It's too soap opera-like to care. Solid ending though.
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#35

Post by maxwelldeux » September 5th, 2020, 2:29 am

1. The Ascent (1977)
The problem with Russian movies is that they are overwhelmingly depressing... wow was this awful in the best possible way. Stark, bleak, this was a great film about what it was like being a Russian soldier in WW2. The coincidences that happen while trying to survive and the consequences and sheer randomness of it all... damn. 8/10

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#36

Post by sol » September 5th, 2020, 6:44 am

From Russia with LoveShow
1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)
2. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)
3. Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)
4. Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)
5. Assassin of the Tsar (1991)
6. The Commissar (1967)
7. Za Schastem (1917)

8. Zoology (2016)

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It sounds a lot like the Swedish film Border crossed with a body horror movie as this Russian drama focuses on a middle aged woman who inexplicably grows a tail, but the actual product is less interesting than its premise would seem to promise. Natalya Pavlenkova does well as the emotionally fragile protagonist, but the filmmakers never explain how the tail formed as well as what it symbolically represents. It all feels rather pointless and drawn out.
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#37

Post by hurluberlu » September 5th, 2020, 8:59 am

1. We'll Live Till Monday / Dozhivyom do ponedelnika (Stanislav Rostotskiy, 1968) 6+
#JeSuisCharlie Liberté, Liberté chérie !

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#38

Post by peeptoad » September 5th, 2020, 12:26 pm

3. Nochnoy dozor (2004) Night Watch 6
просмотренные фильмыShow
1. Idi I smotri (1985) Come and See 9
2. Alenkiy tsvetochek (1978)The Scarlet Flower 7

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#39

Post by 72aicm » September 5th, 2020, 2:10 pm

1-5. Mesto vstrechi izmenit nelzya / The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed (1979)

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#40

Post by sol » September 6th, 2020, 2:25 am

From Russia with LoveShow
1. A Man from Boulevard des Capucines (1987)
2. Watch Out for the Automobile (1966)
3. Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967)
4. Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)
5. Assassin of the Tsar (1991)
6. The Commissar (1967)
7. Za Schastem (1917)
8. Zoology (2016)

9. Courier (1986)

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This is one of those films that is unfortunately nowhere near as dynamic as the promotional artwork and basic plot make it out to be. Set in the years immediately before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the film has a fair bit to it thematically, however, the protagonist is such an arrogant individual that it is very hard to care about his capitalist aspirations and lacking work ethic while growing up in a Communist nation. He is rather heartless too.
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