Russian Language Hall of Fame II

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The trick is not minding
Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Now this was a treat. Iím not familiar with Russian animation, but this had me hooked from the moment itís muddled images appeared, as if it was indeed a dream. Or maybe a nightmare? A descent into madness perhaps? Or a stream of consciousness that canít be contained no longer.

A man contemplates suicide. He is interrupted by a girl. She needs his assistance, her mother needs help. He rebuffs her. And yet he canít forget her. She continues to appear, as if a haunting image to signify his guilt?
Or is she hope?

I canít discern all of the metaphors, if thatís what they were, but I donít need to. I recognize itís impact regardless. And I do recognize it as being existential.

The animation was suitably muddled and hazy as one might expect from a dream, or nightmare. And the sound was great for a animated short. The footsteps as he ran down the street reminded me of Harry Lime running down the streets at night, his footsteps echoing in the dark. And the clanking of the stones.

This was an amazing short, and I also admit that shorts are a subject I am light on, which Iíd like to remedy at some point. This was a good start.



The trick is not minding
I was going to watch The Thief this weekend, but since The Return just made the recent countdown, I think Iíll watch that instead.
Besides, Iíve already seen The Thief once, so it can wait.



I was going to watch The Thief this weekend, but since The Return just made the recent countdown, I think Iíll watch that instead.
Besides, Iíve already seen The Thief once, so it can wait.
Both films share similar themes, so I'm curious which one you'll like more. I liked The Return more, personally.



The trick is not minding
Both films share similar themes, so I'm curious which one you'll like more. I liked The Return more, personally.
Thatís a good question. One Iíll enjoy debating. I really liked The Theif, although Iíve seen it once a year ago. So Iím interested to see how it holds up on rewatch.



The first three films I watched for this HoF were my first-time watches, the next three were rewatches of films that I would already have given the highest possible score to.

Stalker

While watching this one back, I started thinking that this could be the greatest film ever made. It still might not be my number 1 in this HoF, and I don't mean that I am putting it behind my own nomination either. It feels like no other film I've ever seen, it nails this melancholy, tension, and mystery so well. But you could say "nothing happens" in this film, just three dudes walking around some abandoned place. And yet I stayed completely gripped the whole time. In the last couple of years, my opinion of Tarkovsky, while already high, has skyrocketed. I think he is probably the greatest film director of all-time.

The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

My own nom. It's a five-star animated classic by one of the greatest animation directors of all-time. His paint-on-glass style is beautiful and creates a fluidity that is hard to match, but it also creates an abstract quality that he can then manipulate to change the atmosphere of the film. When we enter the dream sequence, the way the paint streaked and looked murky enhanced the whole thing. Petrov and Dostoyevsky together matched perfectly, both creative geniuses.

Cranes Are Flying

I thought Stalker was going to be my number 1, but after my second viewing of The Cranes Are Flying, I think this might be my favorite film of all-time... or at least pretty damn close. Tatiana Samoilova gives my favorite performance of all-time. Kalatozov is clearly an auteur with his own specific style that is incomparable. When people talk about great fighters in lower weight divisions, they scale upwards by talking about pound-for-pound rankings, well The Cranes Are Flying checks in at close to 100 minutes, which isn't short, but isn't very long either. It's scene-for-scene one of the greatest for sure. The shelling scene is incredible, the scene where Boris' father gives his motivational speech to wounded soldier while the destroyed Veronica stands behind him being furthered devastated. These are all-timers to me.



be my number 1, but after my second viewing of The Cranes Are Flying, I think this might be my favorite film of all-time... or at least pretty damn close. Tatiana Samoilova gives my favorite performance of all-time. Kalatozov is clearly an auteur with his own specific style that is incomparable. When people talk about great fighters in lower weight divisions, they scale upwards by talking about pound-for-pound rankings, well The Cranes Are Flying checks in at close to 100 minutes, which isn't short, but isn't very long either. It's scene-for-scene one of the greatest for sure. The shelling scene is incredible, the scene where Boris' father gives his motivational speech to wounded soldier while the destroyed Veronica stands behind him being furthered devastated. These are all-timers to me.
Yes, the way that so many narrative and emotional arcs are portrayed without ever becoming sprawling is amazing. Nothing against longer films, but to me the more compact runtime lends an urgency and intimacy to the proceedings. It also means that there is almost no redundancy and that every scene moves the film forward, even if it is a smaller moment.




Letter Never Sent (1959)

Do you know, how I know, a film has stunning cinematography?...The answer: when I can't make up my mind on which of the screenshots to use for my review, as they're all so damn good!

Letter Never Sent
was a cool nom! It reminded me of The Cranes are Flying. Maybe that is because of Tatyana Samoylova's presences in both films. She's a highlight to be sure. But what really make's me think of that other classic Russian film is the omnipresence stamp of the Soviet Union upon both films. That's not a complaint, I love that both films are steeped in the era and beliefs of the time. I never try to judge films by today's standards that would be a disservice to other cultures and peoples.

Sure Letter Never Sent has ample Soviet ideology wove into it...and yet the director dared to have a bit of fun at the Kremlin's expense. I got a kick out of the scene when the Soviet mouth piece was broadcasting over the radio about how glorious was the results of the diamond locating-geologist expedition...while the poor geologist are struggling just to survive in a midst of a wildfire.

I feel like I could write a book length review here, that's also a good sign that the film was something special. But I'll just say that Letter Never Sent was a very unique watch...and this is why I join HoFs!
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The trick is not minding
The Return


Two young boys are reunited with their father, who has been absent for 12 years, and both have different ideas on how to react to him.

Andrei is the eldest, and welcomes his return, evidently longing for any contact with his father. Ivan, the youngest, is immediately suspicious and resentful. It seems his instincts are right, as it soon becomes apparent that their ďfatherĒ has returned for his own reason.

Itís interesting to watch how they both view and react to their father, who demands obedience and punished them harshly when they donít please him. And while we never discover what he had, in fact, come for, or why he even brought them along to begin with, itís also not the point. The focus is squarely on the two children, and how they respond to the return (dun-sun-dun!) of their father.

The films is well acted, and beautifully shot. But, much like the father, it comes off as too detached and aloof. Thereís too much mystery with no explanation Still, itís a really good film, and I suspect it may get better with repeated viewings.

Good pick



Hello, this is just your annoying, I mean, friendly reminder that you have two weeks left to finish this thread. Both @Citizen Rules and @ScarletLion have one film left and @Wyldesyde19 has three films left.