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.
The long-awaited sequel to Russian fantasy flick, 'Night Watch', this bombastic goth-horror is equally entertaining and illuminates many of the myster... Read more