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Russian Cinema

Early films from the then Soviet Union had a shaky start due to the First World War and the October Revolution in 1917, but Lenin himself and later Stalin recognised the propaganda uses of the medium. At first, with the infrastructure in tatters and virtually no cinemas in which to screen films, shorts expounding communism were carried from place to place often accompanying live speakers. Once Moscow's first cinema was opened at the end of 1921, newsreels became common. But in 1924 Sergei Eisenstein's 'Strike' became the first true Soviet feature. The following year his 'Battleship Potemkin' was launched to great acclaim, highly propagandistic and towing the party line. Tight restrictions on content continued up until Stalin's death in 1953 and it wasn't until the '60s and '70s that seminal Russian film makers like Andrei Tarkovsky, Sergo Paradjanov and Nikita Mikhalkov began to find their own voice. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the largely state-funded film industry all but disappeared and is only now beginning to find its feet once more. A few gems found their way to Alice's shelves from this period, such as 'Burnt By The Sun' (1994), 'Prisoner of the Mountains' (1996), and our one and only Estonian film is to be found in this section, for want of a better home, the darkly humourous 'Darkness in Tallinn' (1993). 2002 saw the release of 'Russian Ark' (pictured), shot in one take, it is the longest unedited film ever made.

Tangerines (2013)

8.3/10
Director: Zaza Urushadze
Starring: Lembit Ultsak, Elmo Nuganen, Giorgi Nakashidze

Set in 1992, during the growing conflict between Georgia and Abkhazian separatists in the wake of the Soviet Union's dissolution, this compassionate t... Read more

The Admiral (2008)

7.2/10
Director: Andrey Kravchuk
Starring: Richard Bohringer, Sergei Bezrukov, Elizaveta Boyarskaya, Konstantin Khabensky,...

A lavish romantic drama and historical fiction centered on Admiral Kolchak (Konstantin Khabensky), a WWI war hero and naval commander who played an im... Read more

The Ascent (1976)

8.3/10
Director: Larissa Shepitko
Starring: Boris Plotnikov, Vladimir Gostyukhin

The winter of 1942 in Belorussia seems a grim game of cat and mouse between Soviet Partisans and Russians working for German invaders.Two captured Par... Read more

The Banishment (2007)

7.7/10
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Starring: Maria Bonnevie, Konstantin Lavronenko, Aleksandr Baluev

Set in an unnamed location and time, Andrei Zvyagintsevs truly compelling, mesmerisingly photographed drama follows Alex (Konstantin Lavronenko), Ver... Read more

The Bomber (2011)

4.9/10
Director: Vitaliy Vorobyov
Starring: Nikita Efremov, Ekaterina Astakhova

Originally made as an 8-part Russian TV series, "The Bomber" is an action-packed adventure set during WWII, which sees a Soviet aircraft crashing in N... Read more

The Complete Works of Yuri Norstein ( Tale of Tales, Hedgehog in the Fog, Heron and the Crane, Fox and Rabbit ) (1978)

Director: Yuri Norstein

Yuri Norstein is a world renowned Russian animator, whose painstaking attention of detail and craft have become legendary. On this Disc are collected... Read more

The Cuckoo (2002)

7.9/10
Director: Alexandr Rogozhkin
Starring: Anni-Christiina Juuso, Ville Haapasalo, Viktor Bychkov

Aka "Kukushka". Highly-praised and upbeat anti-war drama in which two men from opposing armies - a Finnish sniper and a Russian Captain find themselve... Read more

The Italian (2005)

7.6/10
Director: Andrei Kravchuk
Starring: Kolya Spiridonov, Maria Kuznetsova, Nikolai Reutov

The film opens in a Dickensian orphanage in Russia, a fascinating miniature world presided over by a hierarchy of orphans. The daily routine is broken... Read more

The Legend of Suram Fortress (1985)

7.5/10
Director: Sergei Paradjanov
Starring: Levan Outchanechvili, Zourab Kipchidze, Yuri Goyan, Veronika Metonidze, Levan Na...

THE LEGEND OF SURAM FORTRESS (1985) - Based on an ancient legend, this dazzling film follows repeated efforts by the Georgian people to construct a de... Read more

The Mark of Cain (2000)

6.5/10
Director: Alix Lambert

Alix Lambert's ground-breaking documentary overtly examines the dying art of Russian prison tattooing, while at the same time, more covertly, showing... Read more