In memory of Mayakovsky: The Young Lady and the Hooligan (1918)

On April 14th, 1930, one of the greatest Russian poets Vladimir Mayakovsky shot himself in the heart with a revolver.

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In memory of Mayakovsky: The Young Lady and the Hooligan (1918)

On April 14th, 1930, one of the greatest Russian poets Vladimir Mayakovsky shot himself in the heart with a revolver.

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Top 10 Soviet Sci-fi films about Space Travel

On this date in 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space, and today I want to take you on a journey through landmark, culturally significant and just curious examples of Soviet sci-fi cinema (or if to use a more indigenous term – fantastika) dealing with space travel.

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Top 10 Soviet Sci-fi films about Space Travel

On this date in 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space, and today I want to take you on a journey through landmark, culturally significant and just curious examples of Soviet sci-fi cinema (or if to use a more indigenous term – fantastika) dealing with space travel.

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Hell as seen by Estonians: Põrgu (1983)

Põrgu (Hell) is an Estonian animation film by Rein Raamat, Tallinnfilm, 1983. So grotesque and sexual, this animation brings to life three infernally beautiful engravings –  ”The Preacher“, “Cabaret” and “Hell” – created by the Estonian artist Eduard Viiralt in the early 1930s.

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Hell as seen by Estonians: Põrgu (1983)

Põrgu (Hell) is an Estonian animation film by Rein Raamat, Tallinnfilm, 1983. So grotesque and sexual, this animation brings to life three infernally beautiful engravings –  ”The Preacher“, “Cabaret” and “Hell” – created by the Estonian artist Eduard Viiralt in the early 1930s.

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MMM studio presents: Gongofer (1992)

Gongofer (Гонгофер, 1992) is the most cryptic film in the history of post-Soviet cinema, the meaning of which we won’t even try to decipher. As the opening title states, the film is a story of “a cossack Kol’ka Smagin – a tall, handsome man with brown eyes. Until he was 25, his eyes were brown, then

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MMM studio presents: Gongofer (1992)

Gongofer (Гонгофер, 1992) is the most cryptic film in the history of post-Soviet cinema, the meaning of which we won’t even try to decipher. As the opening title states, the film is a story of “a cossack Kol’ka Smagin – a tall, handsome man with brown eyes. Until he was 25, his eyes were brown, then

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Bad motherfucker

A cheap GoPro camera and a lot of good stunts is everything you need to make a kick-ass music video. Russian musician and filmaker Ilya Naishuller is the proof:

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Bad motherfucker

A cheap GoPro camera and a lot of good stunts is everything you need to make a kick-ass music video. Russian musician and filmaker Ilya Naishuller is the proof:

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R2-D2 Soviet edition, 1967

Don’t you think that this robot from a 1967 Soviet sci-fi film Andromeda Nebula (Туманность Андромеды) looks like an earlier model of R2-D2? I like to believe that John Stears and Tony Dyson stole the blueprints and have been enjoying benefits from merchandise ever since. To put the historical record straight watch Andromeda Nebula (with English subtitles)

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R2-D2 Soviet edition, 1967

Don’t you think that this robot from a 1967 Soviet sci-fi film Andromeda Nebula (Туманность Андромеды) looks like an earlier model of R2-D2? I like to believe that John Stears and Tony Dyson stole the blueprints and have been enjoying benefits from merchandise ever since. To put the historical record straight watch Andromeda Nebula (with English subtitles)

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Soviet Terminator: Yablochko (1946)

Thanks to the technique of “optic reposition” (the process similar to cutout animation, but using live action material) the piano player and the sailor are making a real spectacle. A bit of dancing, a bit of acrobatics, a bit of dismemberment. The technique was devised by Nikitchenko brothers in 1946, and Georges Méliès would be green with

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Soviet Terminator: Yablochko (1946)

Thanks to the technique of “optic reposition” (the process similar to cutout animation, but using live action material) the piano player and the sailor are making a real spectacle. A bit of dancing, a bit of acrobatics, a bit of dismemberment. The technique was devised by Nikitchenko brothers in 1946, and Georges Méliès would be green with

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Sex freaks are after state bonds: The Tailor From Torzhok (1925)

Commissioned by the Ministry of Finance and planned as an advertisement for public bonds, Yakov Protazanov’s The Tailor from Torzhok (Закройщик из Торжка, 1925) turned out to be an eccentric comedy exercising in sexual innuendos far more than the Pre-code Hollywood. The wealthy widow Melanya Shirinkina (Lidia Deykun) wants to marry her lodger – a gullish tailor

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Sex freaks are after state bonds: The Tailor From Torzhok (1925)

Commissioned by the Ministry of Finance and planned as an advertisement for public bonds, Yakov Protazanov’s The Tailor from Torzhok (Закройщик из Торжка, 1925) turned out to be an eccentric comedy exercising in sexual innuendos far more than the Pre-code Hollywood. The wealthy widow Melanya Shirinkina (Lidia Deykun) wants to marry her lodger – a gullish tailor

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Dziga Vertov’s Soviet Toys: The first (and possibly the weirdest) Soviet animation

A belly of a gluttonous bourgeois is cut open by a  centaur formed by a worker and a farmer. A Mystery Man (creepier than the one from Lynch’s Lost Highway) appears from time to time and advertises something. The film ends happily (?): Red Army soldiers appear and form a Christmas tree, that is decorated with

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Dziga Vertov’s Soviet Toys: The first (and possibly the weirdest) Soviet animation

A belly of a gluttonous bourgeois is cut open by a  centaur formed by a worker and a farmer. A Mystery Man (creepier than the one from Lynch’s Lost Highway) appears from time to time and advertises something. The film ends happily (?): Red Army soldiers appear and form a Christmas tree, that is decorated with

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The things you didn’t know about Star Wars

No Star Wars film was officially screened in the Soviet Union until 1988. Certain people always had access to forbidden fruits of the West, but back in 1977 common folk had to content themselves with this short news piece published under the heading “Mass Culture -77″ (with the sub-heading “Cosmic Cine-Horrors”) in the box titled “Their

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The things you didn’t know about Star Wars

No Star Wars film was officially screened in the Soviet Union until 1988. Certain people always had access to forbidden fruits of the West, but back in 1977 common folk had to content themselves with this short news piece published under the heading “Mass Culture -77″ (with the sub-heading “Cosmic Cine-Horrors”) in the box titled “Their

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St. Valentine’s Day Special: Day of Love (1990)

To celebrate the occasion today we’re going to write about a film called Day of Love (День Любви, 1990). Sarcastically enough, Day of Love is rape and revenge film. A Soviet rape and revenge film. The film is one of the examples of the so-called co-operative cinema – a phenomenon that flourished in the last few years of the Soviet Union, when

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St. Valentine’s Day Special: Day of Love (1990)

To celebrate the occasion today we’re going to write about a film called Day of Love (День Любви, 1990). Sarcastically enough, Day of Love is rape and revenge film. A Soviet rape and revenge film. The film is one of the examples of the so-called co-operative cinema – a phenomenon that flourished in the last few years of the Soviet Union, when

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Captive Good Attending Captain Ill: Stalinism in cinema

This critical view on Stalinism in late Soviet and new Russian cinema is courtesy of our today’s special guest writer Patrick Tine. Patrick is a New York based student and writer, an aficionado of Ladas, montage and Diego Rivera. Find Patrick on Twitter - @therealPDT. Despotism has existed throughout history. Tyrants from all over the globe have ruled with legendary

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Captive Good Attending Captain Ill: Stalinism in cinema

This critical view on Stalinism in late Soviet and new Russian cinema is courtesy of our today’s special guest writer Patrick Tine. Patrick is a New York based student and writer, an aficionado of Ladas, montage and Diego Rivera. Find Patrick on Twitter - @therealPDT. Despotism has existed throughout history. Tyrants from all over the globe have ruled with legendary

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100 films that will ruin lives of Russian school kids

A bit of back story: in summer 2012, the head of the Russian Cinematographers’ Union Nikita Mikhalkov proposed to introduce ‘cinema lessons’ in schools (in the 6th-7th grades). The initiative is indeed noble, so various film specialists were assigned to work on a provisional list of a hundred films that are supposed to educate school kids and cultivate

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100 films that will ruin lives of Russian school kids

A bit of back story: in summer 2012, the head of the Russian Cinematographers’ Union Nikita Mikhalkov proposed to introduce ‘cinema lessons’ in schools (in the 6th-7th grades). The initiative is indeed noble, so various film specialists were assigned to work on a provisional list of a hundred films that are supposed to educate school kids and cultivate

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Metropolis á la Marxism-Leninism: Loss of Sensation (The Robot of Jim Ripl) (1935)

On this date in 1927, the great Metropolis was premiered in Germany.  Therefore today we want to talk about a 1935 Soviet film Loss of Sensation, alternately titled as The Robot of Jim Ripl (Гибель сенсации, или Робот Джима Рипль), which is a close counterpart of Metropolis within Soviet cinema – almost equally as great,  but nearly

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Metropolis á la Marxism-Leninism: Loss of Sensation (The Robot of Jim Ripl) (1935)

On this date in 1927, the great Metropolis was premiered in Germany.  Therefore today we want to talk about a 1935 Soviet film Loss of Sensation, alternately titled as The Robot of Jim Ripl (Гибель сенсации, или Робот Джима Рипль), which is a close counterpart of Metropolis within Soviet cinema – almost equally as great,  but nearly

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The ultimate cult film: The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (1976)

A Soviet television film The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!) was first shown on the New Year’s night in 1975-6. Since then it became an integral part of the New Year’s ritual, akin to The Wizard of Oz (1939) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) in Western

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The ultimate cult film: The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (1976)

A Soviet television film The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!) was first shown on the New Year’s night in 1975-6. Since then it became an integral part of the New Year’s ritual, akin to The Wizard of Oz (1939) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) in Western

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Our spiritual unrest over Viy 3D

Viy. Returning (Вий: Возвращение), (a.k.a. Viy 3D) – is an upcoming Russian horror film based on Nikolai Gogol’s timeless novel ‘Viy’. The creators of Viy Returning claim this is not in any sense a remake of the Soviet classic Viy (1967), but an adaptation of the first edition of Gogol’s novel that they supposedly discovered. Before

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Our spiritual unrest over Viy 3D

Viy. Returning (Вий: Возвращение), (a.k.a. Viy 3D) – is an upcoming Russian horror film based on Nikolai Gogol’s timeless novel ‘Viy’. The creators of Viy Returning claim this is not in any sense a remake of the Soviet classic Viy (1967), but an adaptation of the first edition of Gogol’s novel that they supposedly discovered. Before

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NEP is for New Erotic Policy: The Third Meshchanskaya, or Threesome (1927)

If you think that hippies invented free love in the 1960s, you’re wrong. Russia was never particularly marked by high morality, and the Red October took its toll – fantasies of the emancipated mind were at times driving revolutionaries to the extremes. The sanctity of marriage was dismissed, and to get married or divorced became a piece of cake.

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NEP is for New Erotic Policy: The Third Meshchanskaya, or Threesome (1927)

If you think that hippies invented free love in the 1960s, you’re wrong. Russia was never particularly marked by high morality, and the Red October took its toll – fantasies of the emancipated mind were at times driving revolutionaries to the extremes. The sanctity of marriage was dismissed, and to get married or divorced became a piece of cake.

/ 3 Comments

The return of the Soviet: the case of the new Russian horror cinema

Within various national cinemas all over the world, genre film-making with its good faith in spectacle, action and thrills was always used as a way to establish a competitive film industry, the output of which will be appealing both to local as well as international audiences. Horror films serve as a good example here, since

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The return of the Soviet: the case of the new Russian horror cinema

Within various national cinemas all over the world, genre film-making with its good faith in spectacle, action and thrills was always used as a way to establish a competitive film industry, the output of which will be appealing both to local as well as international audiences. Horror films serve as a good example here, since

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My Grandmother (1929): experimental Georgian phantasmagoria

It is absolutely extraordinary that an hour-long film from Georgia, My Grandmother (ჩემი ბებია, Kote Mikaberidze, 1929), predating the surrealism of Dalí and Buñuel, Breton’s dark humour, Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, and even hypnotic homoerotism of Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet (1932), manifests the elements of all these ensuing cultural phenomena. So if you are

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My Grandmother (1929): experimental Georgian phantasmagoria

It is absolutely extraordinary that an hour-long film from Georgia, My Grandmother (ჩემი ბებია, Kote Mikaberidze, 1929), predating the surrealism of Dalí and Buñuel, Breton’s dark humour, Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, and even hypnotic homoerotism of Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet (1932), manifests the elements of all these ensuing cultural phenomena. So if you are

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Breaking Soviet taboos: Merry Christmas in Paris! or The Gang of Lesbians (1991)

This film deserves our attention solely because of its conspicuous title: Merry Christmas in Paris! or The Gang of Lesbians (Счастливого Рождества в Париже! Или Банда лесбиянок, 1991). Was this the influence of the third wave feminism on women’s cinema of post-Soviet Russia? Let’ see. Olga Zhukova, the woman director of Merry Christmas in Paris, produced 5 films

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Breaking Soviet taboos: Merry Christmas in Paris! or The Gang of Lesbians (1991)

This film deserves our attention solely because of its conspicuous title: Merry Christmas in Paris! or The Gang of Lesbians (Счастливого Рождества в Париже! Или Банда лесбиянок, 1991). Was this the influence of the third wave feminism on women’s cinema of post-Soviet Russia? Let’ see. Olga Zhukova, the woman director of Merry Christmas in Paris, produced 5 films

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