My Favorite Russian Films - Definitely Check These Out

in #films3 years ago (edited)


Some of My Favorite Russian Films - Highly Recommended Viewing

I decided to continue to change things up a bit today. My wife and I were deciding on a movie to watch for the evening and I realized that I rarely, if ever, speak about my favorite films on Steemit. So, rather than pick out all my favorite English language films (Tombstone/Saving Private Ryan are tied for 1st), I am going to share some of my favorite Russian language films. Don't worry, you can watch them with subtitles.

There are a great many to choose from, but I've narrowed it down to 3 because most of the stupid lists I read have 10 and I (you probably either) don't have time to explain what 10 Russian films are about and why you should watch. Therefore, you get the abbreviated version.

Just so you know. These are not in any particular order. I haven't truly contemplated where I would rank each of them in the grand scheme of Russian film yet. I will take some time to ponder this. Keep in mind that it took me 10 years to decide that I couldn't decide which I liked better - Tombstone or Saving Private Ryan.

Here we go.

Drum Roll Please...

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#1 - Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром! -The Irony of Fate or ...(it doesn't translate, but I'll explain)

This film is a classic Russian film that is played in every house in Russia on New Year's Eve. Of course the setting for the film is on New Year's Eve so that would make sense. It is a great comedy/drama/romance with music - Yes, it has it all. It is a truly wonderful film that will make you smile, laugh, and even dream a bit.

Plot - Dude meets up with his buds like he does every year on New Year's Eve in Moscow and goes to the Banya during the day. Banya is Russian sauna and it isn't like hanging out in the Steam room at your local gym. Banya is a Russian event. It often involves large amounts of beer, vodka, salted/dried fish as one rotates in and out of a very hot steam room. There are a ton of rituals associated with a trip to the banya, which I will save for another post.

Needless to say, dude is supposed to meet up with his semi-charming fiancee after banya with the boys, but as you can imagine, hot steam, dehydration, copious amounts of vodka and beer don't mix well and he passes out. His friends, drunk as well take him to the airport as they need to put one of their drunk friends on a plane to St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, they put him on the plane instead. A short flight later dude wakes up in Piter, but doesn't realize it and takes his drunk ass to "his" apartment by taxi.

Of course, every city in Russia has similar apartment buildings during the Soviet era on similarly named streets so he ends up going into some ladies apartment while she isn't there to sleep off his drink. He thinks it is his apartment, the lady who lives there comes home and hilarity ensues.

"С лёгким паром!" is a greeting that Russians give each other after they have been to the banya. It is a very traditional statement, but the literal translation is like "have a good steam!" but it doesn't capture the essence of the phrase. Some things just don't translate well and this is one of them.

Great film. It would be a classic in America also.

Interesting Fact - The lead actress in the film is actually Polish. However, the Ministry of Film was so unhappy with her Russian that a native Russian did a voice over for all her dialogue in the film. You won't notice because you'll be reading the subtitles.

#2 - Москва слезам не верит - Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears

Another classic film from the Soviet era, but this one even won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It is an endearing tale about 3 girls living in a dormitory in Moscow after finishing school. They are working and seeking love and companionship like every girl in the world at that age. The 3 girls take very different paths in their lives based on their decisions and have decidedly different outcomes and the film follows them (with a break in between their youth and their 30's).

It will hold your attention if you like romantic/drama/comedy all wound into one. Not so much music in this one.

I will give a huge UPVOTE to anyone that catches the TRUE moral to this story because most people don't get the real message (not even most Russians I know). Put your guesses in the comments.

It is split into 2 parts on YouTube.

#3 - Брат - Brother

This is the very first Russian language film I watched in its entirety. It is filmed on location in St. Petersburg in the 1990's - a period known as "The Wild East" because of the lawlessness and lack of order following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The film follows the main character Danil played by Sergei Bedrov Jr after he is discharged from the Army. He is sent to live with his brother in St. Petersburg. However, his brother is a bit of a gangster and Danil is thrust into some very difficult situations. The film is loaded with great Russian Classic Rock (Nautilius Pompelius does the soundtrack) and features some of the top music acts of the 90's in cameos such as Шевчук, the lead singer of DDT (a hugely popular Russian rock band - I will leave a link).

The film is a bit dark at times as Danil comes to grips with the different ways that people are embracing the changes in Russia in the 90's. Keep an eye on the 3 female characters (hint - the first is his mother). Each one represents a different vision of Russia - a similarity with the women in Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago.

If you have been reading my posts you will recognize many of the sites in the movie. Personally, I have visited every place where a scene in the film was shot except those in the opening acts, which were not done in St. Petersburg. It was a very cool self-tour including the cemetery.

This clip is only the 1st of 8 on YouTube, but it is available on Netflix last I checked with subtitles (the others might be as well).

Hope you enjoy them and I look forward to comments. I will think about posting some of my other favorites in the future. All the best to you.

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Of course you have movies and music in Russia, but strangely it is not something one thinks about here. I watched the concert clip of DDT and was nice watching the people be people there. It strikes me (as several of your posts have) that we are trained to think of others as a country, and not as people. In the video, you see people singing along, dancing. Each with their own story, their own struggle.

Just curious, but do Russians have the same blinders on towards the U.S. that we have towards them?

Yes, and No. Their images of the U.S. for so long have been dipped in gold that they are so shocked when they hear the continual lies told about them in the Western news. My concern is that they are starting to hate the West. It's like the the kid that is being teased. He isn't angry at first, he is just shocked and curious why people would do/say such things. However, after awhile he starts to hate those that continue to cause him anguish. It is a slow drip, but it has been taking its toll over the last several years. The video, by the way, that you watched was in Kiev, Ukraine before the Maidan. Did you notice how much they hated Russians? Exactly. Another manufactured story.

My concern is that they are starting to hate the West.

Sadly many of us here in the west are as well. I have talked with a growing number of people over these last few years who believe eastern Europe is the only chance we have left to survive as the leaders of the west all appear to be on some insane suicide march.

Прекрасная подборка фильмов. Я их тоже люблю пересматривать каждый раз.
Хотя не могу согласиться с тем, что русская баня - это всегда много пива и водки. В фильме "С легким паром!" совпало так, что друзья пошли в баню в канун нового года, чтобы чистенькими встретить его, это как очистить душу и тело. А заодно и отметить Новый год всем вместе, поэтому они выпивали.
Я люблю русскую баню, потому что она дает много здоровья человеку, но я абсолютно не пью водку и пиво.
Я бы рекомендовала вам посмотреть "Тихий Дон", " Летят журавли", "Они сражались за Родину". Это шедевры русского кинематографа.
Спасибо за вашу любовь к России.

Да, мне нужно написать статью о русской банне, потому что большинство людей не понимает весь ритуал. Конечно, алкоголя нет, но в фильме это актуально. Я обычно пить травяной чай, когда я еду в старые советские бансы здесь, в Санкт-Петербурге. Тем не менее, я предпочитаю нашу баню на даче. Я могу сделать температуру, как мне нравится, и зимой я могу прыгнуть в снег, а затем бежать обратно внутрь. Я люблю это. Спасибо за посещение моей страницы. Мне нравятся ваши комментарии, и это действительно приносит мне улыбку, когда я читаю, что вы пишете. Я обязательно посмотрю эти фильмы. Я хотел прочитать «Тихий Дон». Это на моей полке, но я еще не начал.

да, русская баня - это особый ритуал! Я 10 лет ходила каждую неделю в русскую баню. Мы собирались большой компанией женщин и шли в баню. Нагревали парилку до 90-100 градусов, заходили в сухую парилку , грелись 1 минуту , а потом хлестали друг друга березовыми вениками от пяток вверх до шеи и плеч. 1-3 минуты, тело красное, а потом ведро холодной воды на голову. Кровообращение было отличным, никакой холестерин не страшен. Выходили из бани и чувствовали чистоты внутри тела, такое впечатление, что все органы внутренние заново родились!!!

Thanks for these references and i will try to check these out if i will get with subtitles. Wishing you an great day. Stay blessed. 🙂

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