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I actually like that the film has both. But I love hilariously fake sci-fi creatures, so they won't necessarily detract from other elements of a film for me haha.

I'm glad you liked it, and that I'm not the only one who didn't think that there was a lot of overt propaganda (outside that "trust in Russia" opening text and maybe the collecting samples montage). I didn't even think it was as preachy as some classic Star Trek episodes.
Yeah for sure, the fake creatures didn't detract for me. I love old 50s-60s sci fi, like the stuff American International and Roger Corman put out. Gosh I feel like watching more know!

I loved the ships and thought it was interesting that they showed one being destroyed. The hoover craft was cool. John the robot was cool too and his voice! Intimidating until he got drunk on rainwater. I really liked that they were shown doing actually science: gathering lava samples and gases, soil, etc. So many older American sci fis would never have shown that.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



I really liked that they were shown doing actually science: gathering lava samples and gases, soil, etc. So many older American sci fis would never have shown that.
That's true for a lot of other genres as well. I took an Archaeology in Film class in University, and what I learned was that practically no fictional archaeologists ever do any actual archaeology haha.



jiraffejustin's Avatar
R.I.P. Billy Conforto
Visitor to a Museum

I don't know what to write. First of all, the film looks great, or maybe awful. I don't mean the awful as far as artistic quality, but dingy and miserable. Lopushansky is the dirty version of Tarkovsky. And considering how I've recently come to love Tarkovsky, that's high praise. Visitor has the best post-apocalyptic aesthetic of any film I've ever seen, Fury Road or otherwise. It's the Jigoku of post-apocalyptic films. It's an ambiguous film that even if you pay attention to, you have a decent chance of coming away confused. It'll stick in your head. I don't have a good interpretation, but I also don't think that matters. It means more to me that I can watch something so well put together and gorgeous and painful and mesmerizing.



I rewatched Solaris, and now I kind of want to rewatch the 2002 version as well, even though when I saw it before I kind of hated it.
I liked the 2002 version, though I seen it first and so didn't have the original to compare to it. I think I might very well revisit it after I watch my nom.





Solaris / Солярис (1971)
Directed By: Andrey Tarkovsky
Starring: Donatas Banionis, Natalya Bondarchuk, Jüri Järvet

Solaris is a slow moving, contemplative film that handles its introspective themes more subtly than most other films in its genre. It tackles topics that are both grounded in reality and easier for audiences to relate to, such as those of love and conscience, while also including more philosophical concepts such as our inability to comprehend ourselves, let alone the scope of the universe or alien life that cannot be defined by our limited Earthly experiences.

I really liked the design of the space station, with its wires and machinery on display instead of hidden behind pristine, glossy white panels. The excess trash in the hallway and sparking cables don't exactly inspire confidence, but it definitely feels real, and as though it's been lived in for many years. The first shots of that interior help set the tone for the remaining portion of the film, and I think it's quite effective. The Solaris ocean was also really well filmed, and I liked the use of practical effects to create what we saw.

It's a very interesting film, and since I haven't read Stanislaw Lem's book, its supposed divergence from the novel is completely irrelevant to me. Some people complain about the opening segments, but I quite like how the film starts. The scenes where they're watching the footage of Berton recounting what he experienced while trapped in the thick fog to the other scientists were quite compelling, and I would've watched a film solely about that. I do however have some reservations about the extended drive through Japanese traffic, but I think there's probably just something about that segment that I still don't quite understand.



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Solaris / Солярис (1971)
Directed By: Andrey Tarkovsky

I do however have some reservations about the extended drive through Japanese traffic, but I think there's probably just something about that segment that I still don't quite understand.


It's symbolic for the impetus of mankind's journey to a higher plane of self-. It's a empty road that the lone soul journeys before reaching one's own self-imposed heaven or hell (Solaris).
WARNING: "Freeway spoiler" spoilers below

Ha, that sounded pretty heady, I almost believed that myself...

Nah the reason is more like this: the director was given permission to leave the Soviet Union to film at the Worlds Fair in Japan...but by the time he got to Japan the Worlds Fair had already closed, so most likely the freeway scene is in the film to justify the expense of his trip to the Soviet film board and so keeping his ass safe




Ballad of a Soldier (1959)


I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It hooked me right at the start and held my attention fast, all the way to the poignant ending. It was a heart felt and very personal story, which resonated with me. I liked how we learn of the devastating effects of WWII on the Russian people by seeing the changes the war has forced on the population. We never see a direct result of the German onslaught, the director keeps the focus on the Russian people and that was effective.

I liked how there were vignette stories within the main story, as the young solider encounters people on the move and they briefly move into his life, then in a fleeting moment they're gone. This rush of time is ultimately reflected in the soldier's own rush to make it home, before his limited freedom runs out.

So glad to have seen this.
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Won't be rewatching Solaris so here's what i wrote when i did. It's terrible but in my defence like i mention i was sick. Would bump the rating up to
now i've had time to digest it.

Solaris -
+



First of all i was watching this and digging it then really painful toothache came out of nowhere. I ended up taking a couple of Ibuprofen as i was starting to get a headache, then things escalated . Long story short i ended up super sick; falling in and out of sleep for around four hours then i woke up feeling fine. The good thing about having to stop Solaris and come back to it later was that it was at the perfect time; pretty much 2 minutes into Kelvin first arriving at the station. Thanks to that madness and going right back to sleep after i watched it last night then being out all day i've forgot half of the stuff i was going to say about it.

Just watched my first Tarkovsky the other day: Stalker and i enjoyed but also struggled with it, mostly due to the pacing. Well this was much slower since the characters weren't always on the move like the Stalker ones, it was alot quiter/calmer than Stalker too for the most part. Particularly the first 45 minutes of Stalker with all of the loud machinery, gunfire, etc. The majority of this was calm talking; instead of getting bored by it i was completely transfixed on what they were saying. I thought this film was powerful which was a surprise; i often see Tarkovsky's films called cold and i can definitely see that from Stalker; this worked for me on a very subdued level though. Scenes like just before Kelvins departure at the bonfire with his mum crying and him needing to confront the idea that he'll most likely never see his parents again was very well done. I was surprised how long it took them to get into space; it must've took the film around the same amount of time as Stalker took to get into The Zone. No doubt it was needed particularly for Berton's story but i do think it got better once he went into space. I love that it became much more of a psychological film rather than sci-fi oriented; i didn't know much about Solaris so that came as a welcome surprise since i personally prefer psychological films. Could see similarities to Stalker here; ignoring the ending of Stalker we really don't know whether any of the traps or what the room is claimed to be are real, here it's much the same until later in the film with it not being clear if this is hallucinations or madness or what. I thought it was well done how one of the scientists had killed himself and the other two had clearly lost their minds; the damage was done to them, but we get to see everything actively happen to Kelvin. It's kind of like looking at a before and after picture then watching the effects take a hold of him. Was surprised how fast they got into it, for such a slow-moving film they jamp right into Kelvins hallucinations, i mean 10-15 minutes after he arrived he started seeing Hari and about 30 minutes after he arrived he was completely disheveled sending Hari off in a rocket.

Anyway, great film that'll be high on my sci-fi list. Great performances, visuals, interesting themes and psychological aspects and i loved the ending.



I watched The Cranes Are Flying but haven't had a chance to write anything yet since I decided to do some spring late summer cleaning.

The only nomination I haven't tracked down yet is Visitor of a Museum, and of course that's the one I think I want to watch next haha.



...The only nomination I haven't tracked down yet is Visitor of a Museum, and of course that's the one I think I want to watch next haha.
I need that one too, give me a shout out if you get a link. (found out that Russian site only had 20 minutes of the movies...unless you paid them, it figures)

I haven't started yet but really look forward to this. I just have 2 more 30s noms to finish.
Have you seen you're own nom? If not I think you might like it, I did.

I'm going to try and watch another nom tonight



No CR I decided to go blind on this. Although Cranes was a consideration.
Well it will be cool to see if you like your own nom. Have you read the write ups on it? Or are you waiting till after you've seen it?





The Cranes are Flying / Летят журавли (1957)
Directed By: Mikhail Kalatozov
Starring: Tatiana Samoilova, Aleksey Batalov, Aleksandr Shvorin


I was expecting The Cranes are Flying to be drenched in propaganda, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that that was not the case. Although the story is incredibly predicable, it's still enjoyable thanks to the actors' performances, and timeless central themes that would still apply if you completely changed the film's setting. While I did not like the score for the opening sequence, it certainly provided a stark contrast against the tone found in later parts of the film, and it does at least succeed at setting up the events that follow.

The cinematography for this film is simply astounding, and features a lot of fantastic camera work. Not only are the static, angled shots great to look at, but the camera's movement is very impressive, as it follows a character up a seemingly never-ending flight of stairs, or weaves through a tightly-packed crowd. The scenes that take place in those large crowds are among my favourites, and the final one with the flowers was a great sequence to end the film on.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the fact that we see Veronika return to the same location a few times throughout the film, and each time she's there, the area is more heavily fortified. It's a simple but effective way to show the progression of time, as well as how the local situation has changed drastically over that period. We also never see the enemy combatants; we only hear their gunshots and witness the physical and emotion destruction left in their wake. Since the film focuses on the effects of war, particularly on those left behind, I thought that was a very clever choice.


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Leviathan (2014)

I haven't read the other reviews of Leviathan, so I don't know what you guys thought of this film. I'll be reading your reviews as soon as I post this.

It took me awhile to figure out that this is one gutsy film! That photo I used, says it all: look at Putin there on the wall looming over the scene? That's the first key that this is actually about current Russian politics with all of its ugly corruption and abuses of power....Later in the movie when they have a picnic and target practice at a remote lake, one of the men pulls out a bunch of old portraits of past Soviet leaders, to use as target practice! Now shooting at the image of Lenin or Brezhnev is just kind of funny in and of itself. But it's what happens next that ties in the movie's themes with political commentary. The man says he has some current portraits too, and he mentions Yeltsin is more of a drunken conductor (meaning he was a harmless buffoon)...but he never directly mentions the other leader that he has a portrait of, which is Putin.

Leviathan is a monster that can't be controlled, we hear that in the church sermon and by the events that befalls Koyla. I thought all that innuendo was pretty bold seeing how a number of Russian newspaper editors and opponents of Putin have been poisoned. So I give the movie high marks for it's daring social commentary. I enjoyed it too, though it was a bit slow to get started, but once it did I was interested in it. And of course it was great seeing a part of northern Russia I've never seen before.
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My Friend Ivan Lapshin / Мой друг Иван Лапшин (1985)
Directed By: Aleksey German
Starring: Andrei Boltnev, Andrei Mironov, Nina Ruslanova

My Friend Ivan Lapshin was a little difficult for me to watch. It had nothing to do with the film's content or themes, but rather the use of handheld cameras and a number of shaky point-of-view shots from characters not standing still. It's strange because I don't experience motion sickness in the real world, but this style of film making frequently gives me headaches and occasionally makes me feel dizzy or even ill. As such, it's difficult to really enjoy a film that's physically making me unwell.

I wish I knew more about Russian history, because I think that having some idea about the social and political climate at the time would help to understand what was happening in a number of scenes. I had to do some reading afterwards, because I found myself quite lost during the film, feeling as though there was something looming on the horizon or some commentary waiting to be discovered, but it couldn't figure it out at the time. I still haven't determined the significance of why select scenes are in colour, so I might have to do some more digging or rewatch parts of the film later on.

Despite all that, there is something compelling about the film's story and the manner in which it is told. Due to its narration, I initially thought that the plot would have a more rigid structure, but that was not the case at all. It's an interesting film to follow, and I know I'd be praising the cinematography if the camera would just stay still long enough for me to appreciate it. There were some foggy scenes in the later parts of the film that I particularly liked the look of, as they gave off a slight noir vibe which I always enjoy. My head is still pounding a little, but luckily I don't regret sitting down to watch what turned out to be an intriguing nomination.



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I'll send you a message, CR.

I have a link for Lapshin but it's Russian only and requires adding your own subtitles. The ones I found first were absolute garbage (though they synced nicely haha), and unfortunately I didn't save where I got the better subs. I did also locate Visitor of a Museum after, but not through an online stream.



I'll send you a message, CR.

I have a link for Lapshin but it's Russian only and requires adding your own subtitles. The ones I found first were absolute garbage (though they synced nicely haha), and unfortunately I didn't save where I got the better subs. I did also locate Visitor of a Museum after, but not through an online stream.
Thanks Cosmic! Lapshin worked but I still need
Visitor of a Museum, anyone?