Movies and Film: Some Soviet Movies Worth Watching

Some Soviet Movies Worth Watching

Again, this field is impossibly large, so we are listing various categories (pre-Soviet, Czech, and so on) that may make choosing easier:

  • The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (Neobychainye Priklyucheniya Mistera Vesta v Strane Bolshevikov, 1924). A broad, funny, playful satire of capitalism's fear of communism.
  • Aelita (1924). Brilliant constructivist sets make this early fantasy/sci-fi flick a terrific spectacle.
  • Battleship Potemkin (Bronenosets Potyomkin, 1925). The most-often cited and acclaimed film of acclaimed director Sergei Eisenstein. The brilliant photographic (including montage) bits includes, first and foremost, the "Odessa Steps Sequence."
  • Mother (Mat, 1926). Most acclaimed film by Eisenstein's chief rival, Vsevolod I. Pudovkin, in many ways this film is technically indistinguishable from the contemporary Hollywood product.
  • Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (Moskva Slezam ne Verit, 1979). The Oscar for best foreign film went to this psychological/social drama about three contemporary Russian women urbanites.
  • Solaris (Solyaris, 1972). A beautiful film, very unlike the average American sci-fi entry. A psychologist is sent to examine the disintegration of the denizens of a space station hovering over a planet with an odd intelligence that seems able to make his wife, dead for several years, appear.
  • Repentance (Pokayaniye, 1987). Hysterically, but bitterly, comic allegory about the vestiges of Stalinism in the newly opened Soviet society. The body of the town's mayor/dictator simply will not stay buried.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies and Film © 2001 by Mark Winokur and Bruce Holsinger. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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