Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 49

Thread: Reviews and discussions of Russian language films

  1. #1
    Hanna
    Guest

    Reviews and discussions of Russian language films



    Обитаемый остров" aka "The Inhabited Island".

    (I couldn't resist watching this film first in my Russian movie exposé --- since I love Sci-fi...)

    TRAILER
    [video:kpjp5gbd]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojw7I016Puw[/video:kpjp5gbd]

    My Review and Reactions:


    Gosh that must have been an expensive film! Lots of extras (people), sophisticated interiors and dramatic special effects...

    I liked the "steam punk" theme
    of the equipment and outfits.. Very cool. But the plot was quite hard to understand!

    It didn't help that the subtitles were really bad. I got them online, and these were the only subs I could find. They were full of spelling, grammar and vocabulary errors, unfortunately. So I had to keep stopping the film because the subs did not help me to understand what was being said.

    Towards the final quarter of the film I finally began to realise the purpose for the "towers" and the role of the "Degenerates" and the "Unknown Fathers". I actually still don't understand exactly how the dictatorship was organised and I think that was part of the message of the plot. I didn't understand why Maksim kept saying that the sky was a dome when it looked like a normal sky. I think this might be a girl thing though - I often don't get the full plot in action films because the shooting and violence is so distracting...

    The film sure used parts of every scary dictatorship that's ever existed to put together a truly spooky society to base the plot in...

    As I understood the plot, the citizens still supported the dictatorship because of the power of suggestion that the dictators had over the population.

    The hero (Maksim) looked like a California surfer dude
    and I didn't particularly like the performance of the actor apart from the fact that he is very good looking. But I thought his friend Guy was a better actor..

    Or perhaps his super naive, slightly cheesy personality (or lack thereof) was actually part of the story?


    The departure of Maksim in the red tank towards unknown lands was classy though, and I thought it was a pretty good way of ending the film.
    I WILL watch the second part despite my slight reservations about the first one.

    I think that for me, a lot of this film might have been "lost in translation" unfortunately.. If anybody knows of better subs, please let me know!

    I'd love to hear what others thought who have seen this film?

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Russland
    Posts
    9,882
    Rep Power
    19

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    I've seen the both parts of "The Inhabited Island".
    First of all, I must say that I've read the book, and even more than once, and the book is perfect; I love it. I strongly recommend you to read the novel.
    So... As for the plot, if it can console you, Johanna - many of Russian viewers, those who didn't read the book, could not understand the plot, either. The film looks like several clips put together. Also, many plot lines are distorted. I must admit that I liked some things in the film. Or rather say, some shots. For example, the shot when Maxim leaves his spaceship and takes his first steps on the planet. The picture is beautiful and very exact: those who read the novel can see right away the refraction of the horizon, as it was described in the book. I also like the main hero's appearance - and I don't mean that I like him as a man, but that his appearance is quite close to what I imagined when I was reading the book. Although, many other Russian viewers write on the internet that 'this permanently smiling blond guy' can be Maxim only in a nightmare.
    I also don't like the way he acts; but I don't think it's his fault, he's only a student who has just entered a theatre school. He did what the director told him to do.

    Well, as for the environment the director created in the film. I didn't like it at all. It all looked like something I have already seen a thousand times in different American movies about terrible future of the Earth or something. It was a "hi tech" style, and that's not at all what I imagined when reading the book. For me, it should rather look closer to the Middle Ages. I mean, a tavern should rather look like... a simple tavern, not like a modern bar or a café, and in addition with some twinkling letters... well, I don't remember well what is was. If it's a civilization where the the ruling top uses some high tech, it doesn't mean that high tech is all over the world, in every house, for every simple person. As I could understand from the book, people live very poorly there! Why all that "twinkling" bar then? And "twinkling" streets, and so on? It looked too "glamourish" and too "high tech", no one knows for what reason.

    Also, I'd like to add some words about the role of Fedor Bondarchuk, the film director. Before I see the film, I saw one of his interviews on TV where he spoke about this film, and he said that the role of Prosecutor-General, in his opinion, is his best role in cinema. Well, I told myself then that I want to see him in that role. And.... when I saw him finally..... I realized that the guy obviously has no idea about good acting. It was so clear which great actors he was trying to imitate in that role... But in his execution it looks so wretched...

    As for the second part, I think it's a bit better than the first one. But some really important plot lines are distorted which I didn't like at all. But I liked some shots there, too.

    Oh, and about permanent smiling of the main hero - yes, it's supposed to be so because he's a naive and kind guy from a happy world,....... BUT! The director obviously didn't know where to stop with it. In the novel, Maxim stops smiling quite soon, when he understands how cruel and unhappy is the world he got to. In the film, Maxim keeps smiling even when he's fighting with thugs and mutilating them, and blood is all around. That's just stupid.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  3. #3
    Hanna
    Guest

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    What a great review. I wonder if the other good film critic, rockzmom could be convinced to watch this film?

    Yeah, I agree that the decor was a bit overdone at places. The tavern was one of them... And the word "tavern" implies a basic beer-hall or an inn. Not a chic city bar.

    There is actually a bar near my house which looks surprisingly similar to the "tavern" from this film, with the same retro 1960s style glowing furniture.

    I didn't know about the book but I'll check it out.
    It sounds like a really great book. It's always hard to watch a film after you read a book - because you have a mental picture of the story, and you know all the details that the film couldn't hope to convey.

    I just noticed that Wikipedia has an entry for this film. It's mentioned that Maxim's voice is actually not that of the actor we see on screen - another actor is doing the voice! But it is not explained why...

    On the negative side, this film did nothing for my Russian --- the speaking is just too fast most of the time, and the vocabulary too advanced.

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Russland
    Posts
    9,882
    Rep Power
    19

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I didn't know about the book but I'll check it out.
    If you or someone else is interested, here's the link:
    http://www.homeenglish.ru/StrugatskyPrisoners.rar

    (it doesn't look too long, but I don't know if the text is unabridged...)
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  5. #5
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    США
    Posts
    2,284
    Rep Power
    13

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    I watched a movie called The Needle (Игла).
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097561/
    It's a good movie for those who want to try and tackle a Russian movie without subs because there isn't a lot of dialogue and what there is of it is spoken at a resonable pace and enunciated well. The movie itself is termed a "cult movie;" there isn't much of a plot really but it's very pleasing visually, the scenes etc. I also liked the soundtrack a lot.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  6. #6
    Hanna
    Guest

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    My gosh that's the film that Victor Tsoi was in, isn't it!!
    A friend and I wanted to see this film ca 1990 but we couldn't make it to the cinema that showed it, because we were stuck at boarding school and it was only on for a very short time.
    So I never saw it.

    "Cult movie" can mean anything though!
    Some "cult movies" aren't actually that good...
    "Terror on Elm Street", "Friday 13th" etc

  7. #7
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Russland
    Posts
    9,882
    Rep Power
    19

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I just noticed that Wikipedia has an entry for this film. It's mentioned that Maxim's voice is actually not that of the actor we see on screen - another actor is doing the voice! But it is not explained why...
    Russian Wiki page about Василий Степанов says that he burred at the time the film was shooting, that's why the voice in the film is not his.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    США
    Posts
    2,284
    Rep Power
    13

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    My gosh that's the film that Victor Tsoi was in, isn't it!!
    A friend and I wanted to see this film ca 1990 but we couldn't make it to the cinema that showed it, because we were stuck at boarding school and it was only on for a very short time.
    So I never saw it.

    "Cult movie" can mean anything though!
    Some "cult movies" aren't actually that good...
    "Terror on Elm Street", "Friday 13th" etc
    Wow, you have a good memory for films!
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  9. #9
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    США
    Posts
    2,284
    Rep Power
    13

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I just noticed that Wikipedia has an entry for this film. It's mentioned that Maxim's voice is actually not that of the actor we see on screen - another actor is doing the voice! But it is not explained why...
    Russian Wiki page about Василий Степанов says that he burred at the time the film was shooting, that's why the voice in the film is not his.
    Sorry, my English isn't up to speed. What is burred?
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  10. #10
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Mowcow, Russia
    Posts
    1,957
    Rep Power
    12

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    Sorry, my English isn't up to speed. What is burred?
    She means he had trouble pronouncing his r's.

  11. #11
    Hanna
    Guest

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)



    КУКУШКА (The Cuckoo)


    I have watched this film and I give it 9 out of 10 stars!


    What an allround top-class film!

    EDIT: Following comment from Olya I upgrade my rating to 10/10. Do not miss this brilliant film! Must-see!

    The story was more or less realistic, and so were the characters.
    So much human drama emotion and history taking place in a non-descript valley in the backwaters of Finland... For me as a Scandinavian person, the story was particularly interesting.

    Background: In 1939 the USSR tried to annex Finland which had previously once been Russian but declared independence in 1917. The Finns, largely, were not interested in being "liberated" by the Red Army and fought back, quite successfully, with the official help of Germany and the inofficial help of Sweden.

    Plot: A politically suspect Russian captain, a Finnish conscript and a Sami woman find themselves thrown together in her little hut. She has been missing her husband for many years... Nobody can understand the language of the other two - this problem is at the centre of the story.

    The nature is breathtaking. Apparently it was filmed on the Kola peninsula and not in Finland. But it looks the same, I'm sure. The acting is great and the filming brings out the best in all the scenes...

    Naturally the two soldiers are very suspicious of each other, throwing political insults and prejudice at each other, despite the fact that the other cannot understand.... All while the Sami woman thinks the two men are pretty similar, apart from the fact that the younger (Finnish guy) is better looking! A kind of friendship and understanding develops between the three.

    History doesn't seem to have been re-written, Hollywood style. I would have been furious if that had been the case - this is important history!

    All the historical facts seem right, to my knowledge. I almost fell out of the sofa when I saw the SS insignia on the Finnish soldiers uniform. But the reason it was there is explained half-way through the film, and no doubt it's based on the truth.

    I DO think that Anni's clothes (the Sami woman) were a lot nicer and cleaner than what you see on old photos of the Lapps. Also, it is very strange that she can't speak Finnish - the Swedish Lapps could speak Swedish at that time. But it's possible that the policies were different in Finland, I don't know.

    I didn't understand the beginning of the story! Was the Russian captain about to get executed or imprisoned for his anti-Soviet comments? The only thing that I understood was that he was in trouble due to some comments that he had made. Also, why was the Finnish soldier chained to the mountain?

    I think all of the characters were portrayed in a very human, very realistic way and their dilemmas were fascinating:

    1) Anni's disinterest in the war and very human need for a lover and male company....
    2) The Russian soldier's conflict between patriotism, ideology and sense of having been sold out and betrayed.
    3) The simple philosophy of the Finnish soldier: "I'm done fighting..."

    This war is (was!) a real "torn in the side" in both Finland but also Sweden. If you know the history you'll know why, else I won't bore you with it.. The "Karelia question" was really sensitive and hardly ever mentioned in media during the cold war, for various reasons. To see a Russian-made truly excellent and very sensitive film about it really made a difference to me. It's all truly in the past and history now.

    In the "The making of" clip that was included with the film, I heard Ville Haapsalo speak great Russian! Very impressive. If I can get as good as him I'll be very pleased!

    Possibly the best film I've watched this year.


    Highly recommended - do not miss!

  12. #12
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Russland
    Posts
    9,882
    Rep Power
    19

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Thanks for your review, Johanna! It's very interesting.

    Possibly the best film I've watched this year.
    And still you give the film only 9 out of 10 stars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I didn't understand the beginning of the story! Was the Russian captain about to get executed or imprisoned for his anti-Soviet comments?
    Maybe the former, maybe the latter, but anyway, nothing good would expect him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Also, why was the Finnish soldier chained to the mountain?
    As someone explained me, Germans dressed captive Finns in the fascist uniform and gave them weapon so that Soviet pilots tried to kill such 'German', and he, defending himself, could shoot down one or two Sovite planes.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  13. #13
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Central Russia
    Posts
    858
    Rep Power
    8

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    I couldn’t agree more, the movie is great. I don’t remember how I got to watching it, maybe Ville Haapsalo, the actor I very much like for some reason, perhaps for his speaking Russian so well and being so Russian friendly, caught my eyes in the trailer, anyway I wasn’t disappointed. The only disappointment is that he (Ville Haapsalo) seems to be getting closer and closer to becoming, how shell I put it, an alcohol dependent person. Every time I caught a glimpse of him on TV lately, in interviews or whatever, he appeared to be drunk.

  14. #14
    Hanna
    Guest

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Thanks for the comments Ollie - I really appreciate your view - I consider you probably the top film authority on this site! I have watched a film called "A zori zdes tikhie" - I will write a review of that one too. Since it's a war film (one of your specialities) I look forward to your view too. Very interesting film.
    Actually - I will change my "rating" of Kukushka - I only held back the star because of Anni's clean&stylish clothes which I thought were unrealistic.. Not a good reason really!

    @Alex - I see what you mean about Ville Haapsalo and the booze. I saw a Finnish interview with him on Youtube, and yeah, he was definitely not sober.... That's tragic. Other than that he's a really impressive guy.

    For some reason lots of people from the Nordic countries drink too much when they go to Russia! It's weird really. I know two guys who have lived in St Petersburg for a many years (Swedish), both definitely drink too much. In Scandinavia it's very difficult/complicated to buy alcohol - to prevent people from drinking. I guess Russia doesn't have any restrictions and they go wild...

  15. #15
    Hanna
    Guest

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    just some corrections!
    Maybe the former, maybe the latter, but anyway, nothing good would expect him.
    Hm, this sentence is wrong in two places, I know what you want to say, but the whole sentence must be changed:
    "One or the other. He had nothing good to look forward to".
    (that's the closest sentence I can come up with).

    As someone explained me, Germans dressed [s:1m09zte3]captive[/s:1m09zte3] CAPTURED Finns in [s:1m09zte3]the[/s:1m09zte3] fascist uniformS and gave them weaponS so that Soviet pilots tried to kill such 'GermanS', and he, WHILE defending himself, could shoot down one or two Soviet planes.
    A comment based on my own mistake: If you use the word "fascist" when you speak with English or American people, just remember that to them, it means ONLY fascism like Moussolini's in Italy. I don't think they are familiar with the more general meaning of the word. I made this mistake once when I was discussing politics and people totally misunderstood me.

  16. #16
    Hanna
    Guest

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    I caught a nasty cold... so recovering on the sofa and watching... "Stirlitz". I managed to find some English subtitles for it.
    My rating, 4,5/5



    I hadn't heard of this series until I joined this forum, but i have understood from the posts here that it is a Russian classic, so I decided to watch it.

    Normally I HATE war films, particularly films about WW2. But this is interesting for reasons other than "entertainment". Plus, I am beginning to like the Russian approach to war films. I like the slower pace, lack of exaggerated heroes, gory shooting and blood. I particularly like that the focus is on normal people and how the war affects them.

    "Stirlitz" starts a bit slowly --- at a pace that we are not used to anymore. But back in the days of state TV only (I've experienced that too...) they could afford to be more "artistic" and less worried about viewers getting bored and changing to another channel.... On the whole, I prefer quality and art over a quick "entertainment-fix".

    In Stirlitz, great emphasis is placed on introducing the characters and the backdrop of the series. Very helpful and sets the atmosphere.

    So far my impression is that it is a very good series with some really interesting dialogues. I like that the Germans are portrayed as normal people and not robot-like monsters, like Hollywood films about WW2. The British/American view on the war is much better known to me than the Russian view, but I was interested in learning more of the Russian view.

    It also seems to me that the film is filling the purpose of educating viewers a bit about the main events of the war. Perhaps in the early 1970s, the war was so close by that it hadn't quite become "history" to be studied in school, and people needed to get the facts straight.

    Also, I must say I do get the impression that there seems to be a fair bit of Soviet ideology vowen into the plot. Whereas other films from that era don't contain it. I can only guess that the war touches so many politcally sensitive areas that it was inevitable. But this is not unique to Russia/Soviet. Anybody who's watched a Hollywood film has come across ideology too -- just a different one. So the ideology doesn't bother me, but it's the first time I've noticed it in a Russian film.

    Minuses: Some of the details are not quite right, such as a couple of street scenes that are supposed to be from 1945 but are filmed in East Germany at a much later date. Plus the English voices are not done by native speakers.. But this is a well known phenomenon from Hollywood... Nevertheless, getting these details right would have made me more impressed by the film. However, I accept that for the Soviet viewers in the 1970s it was probably completely irrelevant.

    I guess they filmed in black and white so they could use old news material for some of the scenes. Other Russian films from that time and earlier are in colour. I much prefer colour.

    Anyway, so far I like the series and will continue watching the next episode.

    Another interesting thing is that the word "господин" is used a fair bit. I was beginning to think that only Russian courses and text books used this word! First time I hear it in a film, as far as I can recall.

    The dialogue is interesting and witty. It's an intelligent and artistically excellent series. The actors speak clearly, quite slowly and the subtitles are good. So this series is good for learners.

  17. #17
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    East Coast, United States
    Posts
    2,185
    Rep Power
    14

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I caught a nasty cold... so recovering on the sofa and watching... "Stirlitz". I managed to find some English subtitles for it.

    I hadn't heard of this series until I joined this forum, but i have understood from the posts here that it is a Russian classic, so I decided to watch it.

    I guess they filmed in black and white so they could use old news material for some of the scenes. Other Russian films from that time and earlier are colour. I much prefer colour.
    Johanna,
    Sorry you are not feeling well! When I was watching this one I had LOTS of questions. If you have any or want to read mine and the answers, take a look at pages 16 and 17 of the BIG movie thread.

    Also about the whole B&W thing, there was a thread about that before too, but it is in Russian. HOWEVER it has still photos as the movie was colorized! You should take a look at it! http://masterrussian.net/mforum/view...p?f=23&t=17253
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
    Check out the MasterRussian Music Playlist
    Click here for list of Russian films with English subtitles and links to watch them.

  18. #18
    Hanna
    Guest

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Thanks for the tips, I'll check that.... !
    So you watched the whole series?

  19. #19
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    East Coast, United States
    Posts
    2,185
    Rep Power
    14

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Thanks for the tips, I'll check that.... !
    So you watched the whole series?
    Yup! I really liked the series and it was great to watch while hanging around in bed and in the car (I watched part of it on a little portable DVD player). I have found that these old series like this one and Meeting Place Should Not Be Changed (the one I just finished today) are at a slower pace and therefore much easier to watch when you aren't feeling well! Now they do take concentration to keep track of the large cast and the plot twists, but that is what the rewind button is for and the cheat sheet!!! The acting in these older series is amazing and so is the directing, script writing, sets, lighting, well... just everything!

    They would probably not go over well in today's world... maybe they could be compared to Out of Africa or The Natural... a slower pace and no special effects to cover up for the lack of a good script and acting.

    You have posted about why Hollywood does not use Russian actors for Russians, that is a good question. Maybe because they are afraid they would out act our American actors just like the British ones do! The Brits are already taking over all the good American TV roles and using American acents to do it!
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
    Check out the MasterRussian Music Playlist
    Click here for list of Russian films with English subtitles and links to watch them.

  20. #20
    SAn
    SAn is offline
    Почтенный гражданин SAn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Сколково
    Posts
    399
    Rep Power
    7

    Re: FILM REVIEWS, DISCUSSION (RUSSIAN FILMS)

    How about more easy and fun movies?

    I recently watched the «Сваты» series (Сваты, Сваты-2, Сваты-3). The film is about two Russian (or, may be, Ukrainian?) families, whose children get married and have a small daugter.

    The film is so easy, so fun, it shows Russian life in so true and exagerrated manner! But I bet it will be very hard too understand by non-native speakers.

    The plot of series is very simple: two pairs of grandparents by chance are living together trying to look after their granddaughter. But grandparents have very different characters: one family is from a village, other are civilized people from a city. As a result, they have a lot of conflicts is a SitCom-like style. So, the film is about beginnings and solving of these conflicts in a Russian manner. Vodka is often play central role in the plot, but it shown not as a way to solve a conflict (as you might expect), but mostly as the origin of all problems.

    The film is extremily realistic. The only unfeasible thing is the frequency of fun situations the heroues meet with.


Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 993
    Last Post: April 19th, 2013, 12:37 PM
  2. a place to dl russian films
    By Lt. Columbo in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: October 1st, 2007, 05:03 PM
  3. Finding Russian films in UK?
    By rainbowworrier in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: May 20th, 2007, 08:14 AM
  4. Russian Movie Reviews!
    By kalinka_vinnie in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: February 2nd, 2006, 05:55 PM
  5. Replies: 6
    Last Post: March 5th, 2005, 08:16 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary