Jan 212008

As a public service, I should make a database that categorizes Russian movies in useful and important ways:

Proto-bolshevik revolutionary — In pre-revolutionary Russia, there is the odd character who tinkers with explosives, befriends a youngster, is arrested and beaten by the police, and perhaps has some noble words about truth for the youngster to remember as he is hauled away.

  • The Childhood of Maxim Gorky
  • Siberiade
  • (One movie recently seen on RTR-Planeta that had three of them who conducted some caper on behalf of the motherland and were then hauled away to be executed by the ungrateful czarist government.)
  • Andrei Rublev — The setting is somewhere around 1400. In this case it’s Rolan Bykov as a dangerous jester rather than an explosive maker. He gets beat up by the police, like the others, but his words of wisdom are in his jokes.

Revolutionary man scorns woman — Beautiful young woman tries to seduce/charm a man who ignores her so as not to get distracted from his revolutionary mission.

  • In one movie I saw on RTR-Planeta, the guy politely ignored the advances of the young woman who somehow ended up in the camp of revolutionaries, but took interest when it turned out she was an excellent shot with a handgun.
  • In the RTR-Planeta movie with the three-musketeer types, one of the three resists the advances of a beautiful woman who undresses in his hideaway before realizing he is there, too. She wants to be kissed; his facial expression says no; he goes on to complete his mission.

Indoor chairs used outdoors

  • Moscow does not believe in tears
  • Unfinished piece for player piano
  • Vodka Lemon (not a Russian movie, but some Russian is spoken)

Nikita Mikhalkov in a tanktop – (He seems to favor horizontal stripes)

  • Railway Station for Two
  • Burnt by the Sun
  • Siberiade

Tonight as we were watching Siberiade , Mikhalkov appeared once again in that tanktop with horizontal stripes. That’s what motivated me to finally start compiling this list.

Dec 242007

We finished watching The Childhood of Maxim Gorky tonight.

This one will not get a second watching, at least not just now. For learning Russian, it wasn’t the most useful to me. The characters didn’t speak as distinctly as in some of the more modern movies — or maybe it’s the old sound recording technique and technology that muddied it up. It wasn’t impossible to make words out, though, and I did catch some usages that were new to me.

I have sometimes wondered how it is that Russia produces so many wonderful child actors. This film didn’t make me ask that — but maybe it’s because it was a 1938 film.

The “extra” footage from 1918, “Moscow: Clad in Snow” lived up to the raves I’ve seen.

I understand this was only the 1st of a trilogy of films about Maxim Gorky’s life. I would be interested enough to watch the others if they ever come to Netflix.