Russian Must-See Movies

It can be tiring to sit in front of your desk poring over hundreds of books trying to find some interesting information about a country you are interested in. Most people are eager to learn shocking or extraordinary facts that are quite difficult to seek out in books. To make the process of learning more exciting it is great to add in your study schedule some films and tv shows that will broaden your horizons and enrich your list of favourite films.

Mindset: “Give me Liberty” (2019) 

Canned food, loud babushki on the bus, an accordion and the inability to say no – the image of Russia, the image of “Give me liberty”. The film is set in America, but personally, it feels like I’m home: Siberian cold, negligence and curved roads. Wherever Russians are, they will find a piece of Russia everywhere. As you plunge deeper into the film, you begin to experience deja vu, as if all these dialogues have already passed through you. The theme is different, but the dialogue, the mood of the heroes make you freeze and feel all their pain, disappointment and sadness.

The main Russian-speaking heroes (emigrants) are the personification of the images of “little people” (one of the main themes of Russian writers. It is vividly reflected in the work of N.V. Gogol “The Overcoat”), each has their own problem that would be worth solving, but the Russian soul is wide open and cannot leave other people in lurch. In fact, everything is much more intricate than just “Russian images”. I am sure that everyone will “fish out” at least one useful lesson from this wonderful film. The theme of universal love will certainly not go unnoticed.

For the cinephile: Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergey Eisenstein 

I highly recommend watching movies of these two geniuses of cinema. The directors completely changed the world of cinematography. I’ve already written about Sergey Eisenstein in one of my articles, but missing his name here would be a crime against Russian cinema. A lot of his works illustrate Russian history, its heroes. 

Tarkovsky is a director that will look deep in your soul. It can be difficult to watch his movies but they will leave a mark on your world.  Every shot of each movie is a masterpiece. His films could be watched for aesthetic pleasure alone. 

Tarkovsky
Eisenstein

People of our time: “Pozner” (since 2008)

An hour of intellectual and frank conversation with the smartest and the most talented elite of Russian society is “Pozner”. The host of the programme, Pozner, always finds a way to get talking to each of his guests. We have an opportunity to know the deepest thoughts and intimate secrets of people of our time.  

Vladimir Pozner

Traditional music: “Играй, гармонь любимая” / “Play, lovely harmonic” (since 1986)

Balalaika + harmonic + sung couplets = Russian traditional music. Have you ever heard it? Probably not, but you have a perfect opportunity to please your ears by watching “Play, lovely harmonic”.  

For art lovers: “Oh My Art”  

Nowadays among teenagers, YouTube is far more popular than TV.  People of the new generation educate themselves using social networks. My favorite Russian channel about art is “Oh My Art”. The anchor of the programme truly loves the art world and she doesn’t miss an exhibition that takes place in Russia. Even if you aren’t an art buff, her passion will change your mind. The first thought that you’ll have after watching just one video: “I need a ticket to visit Russia”. 

For New Year: “The irony of fate” (1976)

Yes, this point is extremely important. If you are lucky and brave enough (russian weather can be cruel to anyone) to visit russia during new year’s holiday, you should know about this movie. You won’t meet one person that has no idea about “The irony of fate”. In Russia we always know when it’s new year time because we hear such familiar voices and lines.  

Elena

VELIKY NOVGOROD / RUSSIA

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