Stunning WWII flying sequences as the Soviet Air Force battles the Luftwaffe. Veteran Russian pilots teach their new recruits about life, death & love. When the older men fly into battle, ... See full summary »
In a small Russian town, there is a Research Institute for magic. One of the witches, Alyona Sanina, is going to marry a guy named Ivan Puhov (not a magician). A jealous Apollon Sataneev ... See full summary »
Unemployed and homeless Babbs Baberley (Alexander Kalyagin) is being chased by the police who attempt to arrest him for vagrancy. Babbs finds himself in a rich house, where he encounters ... See full summary »
What a wonderful Soviet musical film 31 June is. Beautifully done on all fronts and thoroughly entertaining as you'd expect any musical film to be. It is lovely from a visual perspective if not quite lavish, then again 31 June is made for TV, meaning not as big a budget as films for the cinema, so that can be forgiven. And that is not meant as an insult, there are some great made for TV films out there and 31 June is living proof of that. But whether it's lavish or not that doesn't matter, as 31 June is very colourful and beautifully tailored in the scenery and costumes with a real Russian fairy-tale quality. The way it's shot is very well done too, not in a cinematic sweep sort of way but full of skill and is cohesive and intimate without being obtrusive. The music is a sheer delight, very distinctively Russian while also lush and energetic as well as easy on the ear. The dancing is done with great spirit and the choreography looks elegant while reminiscent of Russian dance and culture, which was really nice to see. The script is good-natured, well-meaning and sweet, giving the drama the right amount of vigour, fun and emotional impact. The story- not always a strong point with film/TV musicals- throughout is warm-hearted and charming, with few if any dull spots. The fairy tale elements are strong and are truly magical, and we are drawn into the fairy world. The direction keeps things simple while not making things look simplistic or stage-bound, and the acting has the right amount of nobility and theatrical command, everybody seems to be really enjoying themselves and it is just as enjoyable to the audience watching as a result. In conclusion, a joy to watch and full of fun, charm and most of all magic. Done in two parts, 31 June is long at two and a half hours but is well worth it. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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