Former TV cameraman Rick Suddeth has posted numerous videos of everyday life in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s and early 1990s. These are mostly raw footage or lightly edited, some are silent. Moscow traffic ca. 1986. Moscow grocery store ca. 1990. Universam Department Store, Moscow, 1990. Queuing for wine at a state liquor store. In the Cosmos Night Club. [more inside]
International Women's Day was yesterday, but every day is a good day for reading about women cinematographers, photographers, fashion designers and chefs! The Calvert Journal presents here a number of past articles on contemporary Russian women in various creative professions, noting that, "someday, in an equal world, we wouldn’t need a special day to celebrate their achievements".
The Never-Ending Film. Heaven's Gate, Cleopatra, Apocalypse Now. They all have one thing in common: Runaway film productions. Never-ending shoots, directors cracking under pressure. But none of them hold a candle to Dau.
In 1959, MOSFILM released "Ballad of a Soldier," made during the Khrushchev Thaw . It chronicles a young soldier, Alyosha, and his six-day trip home from the front during World War II, which "sweeps you, with feeling, into the physical and psychological world of Russians at war." And it is on YouTube. [more inside]
Человек с киноаппаратом ("Man with a Movie Camera") is a classic experimental documentary film that was released in 1929. Directed by pioneer Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, this classic, silent documentary film has no story and no actors, and is actually three documentaries in one. Ostensibly it documents 24 hours of life in a single city in the Soviet Union. But it is also a documentary of the filming of that documentary and a depiction of an audience watching that documentary and their responses. "We see the cameraman and the editing of the film, but what we don't see is any of the film itself." [more inside]
"Legendary" Russian movie studio Mosfilm is posting some it's most famous films on its youtube channel. They will be posting 5 new legendary Soviet films per week. They expect to have 200 uploaded by end of year. Most have English subtitles. [more inside]
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
Animatsiya in English is weblog (warning: livejournal) with a narrow focus: tracking the production of Russian animated feature films. Russian animation has a long history with output both abstract and obstructed; from the early influence of the Russian avant-garde and the work of small groups of enthusiasts, through Stalin-era Socialist realism and a style known as Éclair that was marked by the use of extensive rotoscoping, to the 1960's and beyond when surreal and politically charged (and unfortunately, in this case, anti-Semitic) as well as unconventionally structured, emotionally fueled films found release. Fortunately, when Pilot Studio—the Soviet Union's first private animation studio—decided to relegate parts of that history to the dumpsters out back, the people were ready to sift through the mess. [more inside]
Whether it's the Shatner or Lithgow version of the story, it's not something you would want to try and re-enact in real life. [more inside]
Interpreting Vertov - an open invitation to reimagine the early Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov's 1929 'Man with a Movie Camera".
A 10 minute home movie taken by an SS officer has been discovered in an English church. It shows SS officers and secretaries relaxing in the summer of 1942 in southern Russia. The last couple of minutes shows footage from a slave labor camp in that area. The footage was taken at the height of the German success in Russia, a few months before the turning point in the Russian campaign - and probably the turning point in the Second World War.
The Emperor's Bunker. "The Japanese, with sadness and irony, stressed that Hirohito couldn't even speak properly. This was partly to do with the fact that he didn't have to speak - people spoke in his name and he was isolated from real life". "The Sun", the third part in Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov's 'Men of Power' tetralogy after the gloom of Moloch (1999), about Hitler and Eva Braun, and the despairing tones of "Taurus" (2001), focused on the wheelchair-bound Lenin in his death throes, "The Sun" seems almost upbeat. This, after all, is a film about reconciliation. More inside.
Nostalghia : a site devoted to the work of the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky.
Tarkovsky's Stalker coming as video game in 2003. I always wondered how long it would take for a more artistically-informed bunch to come to the $18B/year video game market (bigger than Hollywood). Will our generation have its video-game counterparts to Faulkner and Fitzgerald? A David Foster Wallace or Don Delillo authored game? Are there other video games that can stand up as "Art?"
Frightening article on Russian snuff-film exporter suspects. Worth reading just for the quotes. (via null device)