Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dersu and the Captain

As the temperature plunges down into the red, I find myself thinking about movies like Dersu Uzala, which Akira Kurosawa adapted from Vladimir Arseniev’s account of charting the Russian-Manchurian border in the earlier part of this century.  Dersu is one of those rare movies that transcends time and place with its universal theme of humanity.  Filmed at the height of the Cold War, it reached far beyond the movies of that time that tended to play up the East-West tensions and looked for common bonds. 

Here's the scene with them staring into the face of winter.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vysotsky: the movie

We were watching a segment the other night on the making of the movie, which was released a couple weeks ago.  The mystery is over.  Sergey Bezrukov had the honors of playing the great screen bard.  Of course, you are taking a big gamble casting anyone for the role, as Vysotsky is still very fresh on many Russians' minds.  His music, movies, and television appearances live on, and he is a tough act to emulate.  But, it seems Bezrukov satisfied viewers.

The film apparently covers the last four days of his life, turning it into a very dramatic chain of events, judging from the trailer.  It has been a huge hit, easily surpassing all other movies this year.  Here's a second trailer.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Remembering Evgeny Leonov

We found ourselves watching Gentlemen of Fortune the other night.  This video comes with subtitles.  Evgeny Leonov is one of the great Russian comic actors, and perhaps the most loved actor.   You might call him the Russian Danny De Vito.  His filmography is a mile long and he has done voices for famous cartoon characters like Vinny Pukh.  He even had a stamp minted in his honor.