15 Films Russians Can Be Proud Of

Bury me Behind the Baseboards, 2009

Bury me Behind the Baseboards, 2009

The following was originally published on AdMe.ru and was translated by SRAS Translate Abroad Scholar Sophia Rhem. Additional information and links have been added, including to the movies on YouTube where available. Some videos have subtitles – look for a small square icon to the bottom right of the video player. You may need to activate the subtitles to view them. All ratings are approximate American equivalents of the Russian ratings. Note that not all YouTube video are available in all countries. This page has been optimized for US audiences.

 

15 Films Russians Can Be Proud Of

The editors of AdMe.ru, guided by readers’ requests and personal preferences, have supplementing a previous list compiled of the 17 Best Russian Films from the 21st Century. This selection features 15 more excellent movies by Russian directors, filmed in the last 20 years.

 

Brother (1997)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

and

Brother 2 (2000)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

In the film Brother and in its sequel, Brother 2, protagonist Danila Bagrov tries to serve justice by any means possible. Boasting fantastic soundtracks, a unique atmosphere, and nation-wide recognition, Aleksei Balabanov’s cult dramas need no further recommendation.

Living (2011)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

People have the capacity to feel, to suffer, and to love. They are able to accept fate, even when fate robs them of what’s most important: the ones they love. With loved ones, people also lose life’s meaning, and the desire to live. They lose everything. But the heroes of this film are not ready to resign themselves to loss. They challenge fate, declare war on it, and in doing so reach their human limits.

Bury Me Behind the Baseboard (2008)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

This is a screen adaptation of Pavel Sanaev’s semi-autobiographical book of the same name. The film tells the story of an eight-year-old boy, Sasha Savelyev. He lives with his grandmother, because the grandmother does not trust her daughter, whom she considers too self-indulgent to raise the boy. The grandmother is a true tyrant, and between her and her daughter, the boy is (almost literally) torn to pieces.

Playing the Victim (2006)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

Valentin, an undergraduate student, takes a peculiar job with the police to make a little extra money: to help reconstruct crimes, he acts out the part of the victims. For most of the film, we see the events through the eyes of the protagonist. The characters are regular people, all with their own problems and shortcomings. This is a complex film: it’s both terribly sad and extraordinarily funny.

Down House (2001)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

This film is a contemporary interpretation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot. It’s a grotesque film, comically depicting social life in Moscow from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. A must-see for lovers of the absurd and of subtle parody.

Rita’s Last Fairytale (2012)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

The plot of this movie revolves around how its three protagonists understand love. The film masterfully tells a tragic story of love and friendship, depicting moments of cynical indifference and meanness. It features three women, three conditions of the soul, three eternal themes: love, death, and the pursuit of happiness. And one angel of death, who escorts the souls of those who are able to love to another world. The story unfolds at the outer limits of reality, to a soundtrack by the wonderful Zemfira.

Full movie not available – trailer below.

The Cuckoo (2002)
Rating: PG-13
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

A Soviet soldier and a Finnish soldier, fighting with opposing armies during World War II, are both sheltered by a woman named Anni who speaks neither Russian nor Finnish. This movie is a story of the interactions between three utterly different people, who come from different cultures. In spite of their circumstances, the film’s protagonists try to find common ground.

The Stroll (2003)
Rating: G
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

By chance, two young men meet a girl named Olya, and the three start to walk around St. Petersburg together. From this spontaneous stroll follows a host of emotions for the trio: laughter and tears, hatred and love, disappointment and enthusiasm, fury and calm.

Mermaid (2007)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

Alisa is chronically unlucky. But in one respect she is fantastically lucky: she has the power to influence what happens around her, and can even control the sea. She can change others’ lives and immediately fulfil her own desires – but can she handle what their fulfillment brings?

Elena (2011)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

The film Elena tells the story of an elderly couple. The husband, Vladimir, treats his wife more like a servant than like a woman he loves. When he ends up in the hospital and only his daughter visits, he rewrites his will, leaving practically nothing to his wife, Elena. She is forced to resort to drastic measures.

Full film not available – Trailer below.

Pussycat (2009)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

The psychological comedy Pussycat captures the perspectives of four completely different people: an infant, a successful businessman, an unlucky writer, and an elderly ballerina. Each of these people is waiting for their big chance – at love, success, or justice. Their stories turn out to be connected in an unexpected way.

A Driver for Vera (2004)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

The characters in this film live complicated lives. The gentle sunshine of the Black Sea coast, the atmosphere, music, fashions and cars of the 1960s, along with the decade’s lifestyles and recreation, are portrayed in this film alongside a covert power struggle between the army and the KGB. Not only does this film feature brilliant acting and interesting plot-twists, it also won the prestigious Russian Nika Award for best music.

It Doesn’t Hurt Me (2006)
Rating: R

More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

This lyrical melodrama is the unusual, penetrative, and touching story of love between Misha, a young man with modest means, and Tata, a well-off, grown woman. Aleksey Balabanov’s commendable film is delightfully acted by the great Renata Litvinova and the young Aleksandr Yatsenko.

Radio Day (2008)
Rating: R
More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

Radio Day was originally a play by the Quartet I Theater. The play depicted the everyday activities of fictional Moscow radio-station Kak By Radio (“As If” Radio). The film features the funny storyline, high-quality humor, and fantastic charisma typical of the famous theater troupe.

Burnt by the Sun (1994)
Rating: R

More Info from KinoPoisk.ru

This picture received an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and the Grand Prize at the 47th Cannes Film Festival. Nikita Mikhalkov’s powerful and realistic drama is rightfully considered one of the best films of the 1990s.

Full film not available – fragment below.

SRAS students come from around the world to study, intern, or research in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, or Russia. They often write while abroad and, on occasion, SRAS will request to publish exceptional works. This account on Students Abroad will serve as platform to publish single contributions from individual students.
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About SRAS Students

SRAS students come from around the world to study, intern, or research in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, or Russia. They often write while abroad and, on occasion, SRAS will request to publish exceptional works. This account on Students Abroad will serve as platform to publish single contributions from individual students.