Russian culture is much more than what we see on social media. In case you are only into Hollywood blockbusters, these amazing few Russian movies might change your taste.
1. Solaris (1972)
A pretty amazing and mind-blowing movie for the 70s period. Solaris is a science-fiction movie that was based on a novel “Solaris” written by Stanislaw Lem. This masterpiece was directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and once you see it, it is always etched in your mind. The whole ‘atmosphere’ is like a sort of meditation and the central location is a space station that constantly orbits around a planet which is fictional, the Solaris. What makes it mysterious? The crew of one mission there has somehow gone ‘crazy’. This is why a psychologist, Kelvin Kris embarks to Solaris to see what really made the previous crew go insane. But, as you imagine, he faces the same issues once he arrives…
2. The Return (Vozvrashcheniye, 2003)
This drama movie was directed by the mastermind Andrey Zvyagintsev and shows the life of two young boys that see their father after a long time. Ivan and Andrei are really close and have been growing up like that their whole life, but after 12 years, their father suddenly shows up – cutting the fatherless period of growing up. On that same day, Ivan and Andrei leave their mom and grandma and go with their dad on something that’s supposed to be a vacation. However, the vacation quickly turns into something rather unpleasant for the boys. It starts to look more like a military camp with many tricky and emotionally unpleasant situations, than a vacation. Too much bravery, masculinity, and foolish stubbornness will make someone a victim…
3. Stalker (1979)
Another movie by Andrei Tarkovsky here on this list. Maybe this is the most known masterpiece Russian movie there is. It belongs to the science fiction movies, however the artistic sci-fi. It is partially based on a novel “Roadside Picnic” by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. This movie has it all; sci-fi elements, meditation-like moments, magical music, dream-like experience for the viewer, psychology, philosophy, humanity.
The story unfolds as the main character Stalker lives to bring people to a place called The Zone. With him, the Stalker brings an emotional and melancholic writer that desperately needs inspiration for everything and the eloquent, but simple professor thirsty for scientific knowledge. Why is The Zone such a mysterious place? Supposedly, anyone who gets there can find answers to everything or find the purpose for Life and even fulfill every wish he or she has. They cross paths and walk, discuss, but all along they FEEL things they never were aware of. Will the professor and author understand why is The Zone so important?
4. Hedgehog in the Fog (1975)
Hedgehog in the Fog is an animated movie directed by Yuri Norstein. The story revolves around a small and cute hedgehog that travels across the woods to see a friend, the bear cub. They have their own little thing – every day they meet to have a cup of tea that the cub makes in a ‘samovar’ (metal container for boiling water). These two cute animals have a good time during their tea drinking sessions; they talk and they look at the gorgeous sky to count the stars. One day, the hedgehog makes a change – he notices a horse in the fog, and it gets curious whether the horse will be ok. But, the curiosity of the hedgehog brings him in way too deep foggy areas. Along with this dramatic fog walk, the hedgehog is provoked by animals, some guide his way, some call out his name, but eventually, it learns that everything will turn out fine in the end, as he safely arrives to the bear cup for their tea session.
5. The Island (Ostrov, 2006)
This mysterious drama was directed by Pavel Lungin and it was the very same movie that closed the famous Venice Film Festival in 2006. The main story plot is about a fictional character, the Orthodox Monk. The story unfolds during the period of WWII when a sailor and a captain are held as hostages by the Germans. The sailor is afraid to die, but he is given a choice to be shot or to shoot. We know what he chooses of course. The sailor is in a way ‘adopted’ by local Russian monks and lives in their monastery, but is overburdened with the guilt of the shooting. During this time, the sailor (Anatoly) shows signs of being a prophet, exorcist even. 30 years after the shooting incident, Anatoly is visited by a man that turns out to know him. After this grave visit, Anatoly predicts his own death and prepares for it. A deeply spiritual film about forgiveness, justice, karma, faith…
If you think of other mind-blowing Russian movies, feel free to mention and spread the word! 🙂