Thursday, November 09, 2006

Russian movies - what they are like?

In The Soviet Union cinematography was a huge industry. May be it was no that big as Hollywood, but there were no bad films. Yes, strictly zero. Every movie was a masterpiece, with great scenario and perfect actors' play. Moreover movies were not only entertaining, they were thoghtful.
But with the fail of Soviet Union this beauty was all dead and gone. The number of movies produced have decreased to no more than 10 per year. And the quality of that movies was very low.
But several years ago the resurrection of russian cinematography has begun. It was a slow and painful process but finally it did well.

The first great Russian movie I saw was "The Night Watch". It is based on the fantasy trilogy about the opposition between dark and light "others". "Others" are a wide variety of creatures - wizards, vampires, witches and so on. They live lives of common russian people but also they have their secret life full of adventures. The
movie featured visual effects that were never seen in russian movies before. We were visiting theaters again and again just to see how good russian movie can be. "The Night Watch" quickly became best-seller movie holding russian box office record.

The second movie was a screen version of another popular book - Boris Akunin's "The Turkish Gambit". It covers the period of the war between Russia and Turkey. The movie has a great intriguing scenario, written by the book's author, and hollywood-style visual effects. And again it have had a fenomenal cash record, overcoming "The Night Watch".

The third one is the second part of "The Watch" trilogy, calling "The Day Watch" combining the second and the third books of the corresponding trilogy. This movie was actual breakthrough. Again. It was like "The Matrix" for hollywood, it has set up a new level for visual effects, operator and director's work for russian movies. Actually it looked even better than the majority of hollywood products. And again it was ideologically very close to the hearts of russian people. And best-seller again.

Since then russian movies are constantly getting more cash in theaters than american movies. Russian viewers do want good russian movies and they are finally ready to pay for them.


Field Commander Dinc Arslan said...

I totally agree with you. Now, there are no "Come and See", "Zerkalo" and "Solyaris" movies in the making...but the new films are becoming more and more like their counterparts in Hollywood and the quality (!) increases. I have seen the first two films you have mentioned about. I actually saw Night Watch in Turkey (where I was the only one in the theatre to see it in a friday prime time; really nobody knew what was all that movie was about) but I couldn't watch the second one since my russian isn't that good enough and they didn't think about english subtitles this time in the dvd edition...The quality of these films are fine for me..

Angry Economist said...

I saw Nightwatch. I thought it was good fun. Not a masterpiece, but fun and entertaining.

Other Russian films - The Return was very good - about the 2 boys whose father returns and they go on a boat trip.

My wife (a Kazakh) is always going on about Russian cinema being so good!

I have seen "come and see" but though the translation was "go and see". Also saw other good Tarkovsky movies.