Mar 012014

Surgeon General Klensky (Yuri Tsurilo)

It looks like it has been two years since I posted anything here.  I’m still watching Russian films, though.  The pace of film watching has slowed down the past couple of years, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve been looking for films that have both English and Russian subtitles, so I can put them on my smartphone to watch while running on the elliptical machine.

A few weeks ago I found the MX Player for Android app, which allows me to put two sets of subtitles on the screen at once.  What’s more, I can enlarge the font size to fill up most of the screen space and make them easy to read while I’m in motion.  So now I’m looking for films to make use of these features.  Until yesterday I had only two:  Dvenadsat (12) and  Evil Spirit of Yambuy (Zloy Dukh Yambuya).

The scene pictured above comes early in Khrustalyov, My Car! (Хрусталёв, машину!).  This, however, is not one of the films for which I’ve found both Russian and English subtitles.  But looking for subtitles for this one led me to  There I’ve found English subtitles for it, and have been finding both Russian and English subtitles for a handful of other Russian movies.  I don’t know why I never found that site before, but it’s turning out to be very helpful.

Back to Khrustalyov, My Car!  Without subtitles I could make no sense of it.  The spoken Russian is not very clear.  People speak in disjointed fragments or talk over each other.  When they’re not mumbling they speak in screeches and squawks.  It’s all against a cacophonous background of coughing, spitting, wheezing, belching, and weird mouth noises.  I don’t recall any sneezing, though. I’ll have to watch again to see for sure.  It quiets down somewhat at Stalin’s deathbed, but he doesn’t go without a few bodily orifice noises of his own.

So it’s not the best movie for language-learning. Even with English subtitles, I couldn’t make much sense of it.  These two reviews helped, though:

I’ll watch it again, but now that I found a good subtitle site I’ll be spending more time with some old films that have both English and Russian subtitles.