Sleepwalking through Stalingrad

Sleepwalking through Stalingrad

Горячий снег (Hot Snow) got off to a promising start. Until recently I had put off watching it all the way, through, and now wish I hadn’t bothered.    It turns out that a better title would have been “Sleepingwalking through Stalingrad.”   The actors went through the motions, and I suppose they really were awake, but […]

Two walks through Moscow

Two walks through Moscow

A few weeks ago I learned about the Georgiy Daneliya film, “I Walk Through Moscow”.    In some places it’s spoken of as reminiscent of the French New Wave films of its time.   It was interesting enough to re-watch, and it’ll bear further re-watching. I’d say it’s a very good film except for one thing:  I […]

Guns, Doves, and Steel

Guns, Doves, and Steel

It wasn’t easy to watch some parts of Love and Doves while listening to Jared Diamond’s book, Guns, Germs, and Steel.  (Not that I was doing the two simultaneously.)  Diamond explains how many epidemic diseases have arisen in human societies where people live in agricultural communities  in close contact with domestic animals. Maybe Alexander Mikhailov’s […]

See-thru dress hats

See-thru dress hats

Over at Cape Girardeau History and Photos, Ken Steinhoff posted a 1960s photo of a man wearing a straw cap of what I call the French Foreign Legion style.   It elicited some admiring comments. It also reminded me of another type of hat from the same era — A type of dress hat that I’ve […]

That very good Munchausen movie

That very good Munchausen movie

The more I watch it, the more I regard Tot samyy Myunkhgauzen as one of the greatest films of all time. [Warning:  You might want to watch it before reading any more of this.] Tonight I’ve been re-watching this scene in which the Burgomeister (Igor Kvasha) tries to avoid testifying that his friend, Karl (Baron […]

Una furtiva lagrima

Una furtiva lagrima

Last weekend I watched Neokonchennaya pyesa dlya mekhanicheskogo pianino again — the first time in maybe a year. The boy in the screen shot is playing a recording of what sounded like something from an Italian opera.  I don’t know much about opera, but I got to wondering what it is, and what it’s significance […]

Yelena Koreneva's smile gave her away

Yelena Koreneva’s smile gave her away

I’ve watched Pokrovskiye Vorota at least twice before, but on my latest watching, toward the end, I detected a fleeting smile from Lyudochka that I was sure I had seen before.   It comes just as she’s about to kiss Lev Khobotov (Anatoli Ravikovich) again.   It’s hard to capture in a screenshot, but it’s a little […]

Mikhail Ramm and Yuri Khashchevatski

Mikhail Ramm and Yuri Khashchevatski

Now I wish I hadn’t put off watching Obyknovennoye Fascism (Ordinary Fascism) for so long. I didn’t expect something like this at all. Yes, it gives the leftwing version of the social origins Hitler and Nazism, which is pretty much the same story as you get in documentaries made in the United States. But it […]

Из Ада в Ад

Из Ада в Ад

When I saw this young guy with the chipmunk jowls (the shorter of the two bridegrooms) I was sure I had finally found a film where Oleg Tabakov plays a sympathetic character. The film is “Из Ада в Ад” (“From hell into hell” or “From one hell into another”).  There is hardly any English-language information […]

Vladimir Vysotsky and Ivan the Terrible

Vladimir Vysotsky and Ivan the Terrible

That sounds like Vladimir Vysotsky’s voice on that tape recorder, though his guitar is not strung as loosely as he sometimes had it. (Click through to go to a YouTube video of this scene, at 6:20). It seems that Ivan Grozny is starting to like to it. (He’s visiting from the 16th century, in the […]