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.
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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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