Reviews written by registered user

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23 reviews in total 
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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The fulfilled dream of one director, 23 March 2005

The movie is an adaptation of a very old Russian satirical novel. To adapt the novel for the screen and make a movie was a long-time dream of the director of this movie. During the most stringent Soviet rule he couldn't make it, the censorship didn't allow it for some reasons (that could be sometimes truly bizarre and incomprehensible). Finally he succeeded and the movie was made.

The main character - young clerk who was supposed to be 17 years old, was played by brilliant Georgy Vitsin, who at the time of filming was over 50 !

The film is very light and playful, but never dumb, no unnecessary banana-peel jokes. It is a real "cure against the stress" and also another example of how a funny movie can also be a work of art.

45 out of 46 people found the following review useful:
Greatest psychological film on war, 21 November 2004

This series are far greater than anything that has been filmed about war ever. It shows closely characters of German Nazi top during the last weeks of the war, when they understand that the war is lost. A Russian spy is working among them speeding up the war's end.

The pace of the film is slow and thorough, the movie is meant for people with ability to analyze, reflect. Characters of the people involved are depicted are so lively that the film fuses with the documentary pieces. Acting is extremely raw and natural, it actually in't acting, it's living. Tihonov in a role of Stirlitz portrays a real spy - brilliantly talented, sharp, calm, cold, patient - everything that areal spy has to be. At the same time he is not a greedy adventurous coat-turner, he works for his country, his people, his family. And the last - this film works as a litmus test on people. If you don't understand it you simply haven't matured for it. The film itself is flawless.

9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Animation masterpiece, 13 November 2004

This film is an animated version of "Buratino", book that was written by a Russian writer based on "Pinokkio". No offense to the original, but I personally and many people I know prefer "Buratino" to "Pinokkio" that has rather grim and moralising mood. Buratino is a story for the children without the "finger shaking". Characters - puppets are fighting against their evil owner Karabas Barabas and his henchmen - leech collector Duremar and a pair of swindlers - a fox Alice and a fake blind cat Bazilio.

Phrases from the book and this film have turned into a sayings in former USSR. For instance dubious dealings that promise instant fortune are called "the Field of Miracles in the Land of Fools". Another phrase is the one that's uttered by the fox - "money, Bazilio, likes the counting". Film has wonderful music and song lyrics.

Teatris (1978)
9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Theater by name and nature, 2 November 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This clear brilliant should be used as a measure for acting. The cast, script, atmosphere, music, everything is so flawless because...because there is no philosopher's stone method that turns any actor into a good actor. There is talent - this film is a full, bright, shining example of talent. Talents of actors, the director, virtually everyone who put work into this movie. This is why everything seems so easy and natural, why the jokes fly in exactly the right moments, why the words, music and lights captivates you.

The movie is a comedy. It's Latvian comedy - intuitive, light, elegant to it's utmost. But putting it on the same shelf as say "Beethoven" is an insult, however one might like the latter. "Beethoven" is bright plastic, "Theater" is gold.

Don't try to recognize the Moem's book in the film, the novel has been used only as a thread to follow. The style of directing is very interesting and yes - theatrical. The director (the real director actually) appears behind the camera in black top hat and white gloves and talks straight to the main character from behind the screen while the action goes on, he is seen only by Julia. Julia Lambert, the great actress is shown acting her life.

___SPOILERS___________ Excellent example of the style of the movie is a moment when Julia wants to get her young lover back and pretends to be sick so he would be ashamed of himself for leaving. She sits at the mirror putting on the makeup of a tragic character she has played. She says to the director that is watching it - "I'm going to make him sorry for what he said !". She lies down on a sofa as if she's going to die. Director exclaims "Exellent ! Light ! Camera ! Action !". The light go dim, the young man runs into the room and the whole scene of begging and forgiving is played out.

Music is immensely atmospheric, the "harpsicord" part is played by famous Latvian pianist Raimonds Pauls, who in Latvia is referred to simply as "maestro".

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A must-see, 25 March 2004

A must-see witty comedy, that has fun and philosophy in one. It is inspired by short stories of O`Henry, and has wonderful songs and song lyrics.I would compare the style of this film to Italian "Bluff", but only close. This movie is from a Golden Age of Soviet movies, when comedies were funny and poignant at the same time, and were made by talented and very wise people. Grittiness and stupidity were not cultivated and punches & swearwords were not the way to make people laugh. This movie tells jokes and makes people look at themselves and think. The plot is basically the adventures of two con-men, who are trying to make a living by small-scale swindling.

!!! Watch it with GOOD subtitles, if you don`t speak Russian. And if you don`t speak it and are watching the movie without subtitles, then don`t say that you did not like the movie, because "only some of the chasing was funny", like I found for some other excellent Soviet comedies here !

11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Absolut brilliant, 11 March 2004

This is a work of art that is so brilliantly talented, that it is hard to believe that it is possible to capture on film something so perfect. It is a 300 years old play by Lope de Vega who wrote so many that he was called Phoenix of Spain, most of it comedies. The movie is perfect in any way - as a theater transformed onto film, as a musical (music by Gladkov), as a comedy, even as drama.

If this film would be allowed to travel to worlds movie festivals it would come back with a truckload of awards. What is to be said about this film above all the rest - actors, actors, actors ! They are not teenagers picked of the street and artificially pumped into stardom, they are real, genuine, actors, actors by heart and hard work, immensely talented people, seasoned in cinema and theater. Even the surroundings and costumes (which for some reason always interests Westerners so much) are stunning, they are so live, breathing, as if picked out of the authentic paintings. Terehova carries herself in such way, that if Isabella of Portugal herself has stepped down from the painting in her flaming red velvet dress she would look pale and gray. Terehova really IS the great and majestic Diana, it doesn`t have to be accented and hinted by syrupy sounds, blurry shots and all that stuff.

Watch it ! This movie really is seventh ART !

Formula of Love (1984) (TV)
16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A masterpiece, 28 February 2004

This one of the films which can be used as a test for ones intelligence. It calls for an ability to understand subtle multilayered humor, hints, double-meanings and symbolisms. It`s rating speaks for itself. Where else can you see such a mixture of humor and philosophy. First the phrase brings the laughter, but leaves you thinking further and further.

Everything is so full of talent, wit and kind wisdom, that it grabs you even if you watch it for hundred times. This is a quality of real art.

The script is written by Gorin, who is da Vinci of satirical humor, most of the text has already embedded itself into a former Soviet country modern day folklore.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Lope de Vega enriched, 27 February 2004

A classic masterpiece of the Russian cinema, that stems from theater. A 17 century comedy, which probably would be just mildly amusing in a routine performance, here, performed by a cast of immensely brilliant actors (and also friends and very close colegues in life), directed by a very talented director in a style of a musical comedy and set with music by a most generous and wonderful composer, the 300 years old play shines like a restored old Velaskez painting. This is not "costume movie", it is the best performance of the work of "Phoenix of the Spain" that it ever had. This film illustrates that fun in no way has to be vulgar, sloppy and full of cliches, and art is boring only when done by a non-artist nincompoop. The fact that all former USSR is watching these films again after the wave of Western production is absolutely no wonder. This is art, enough said !

P.S. The "matching diamond" is film "Dog on a hay" (Sobaka na sene), by another play by de Vega.

22 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
It`s not a movie, it`s a mood, 27 February 2004

This movie performed a miracle - it captured a mood, an atmosphere so raw, full, that you are feeling the stuffy summer air, the slow dusty wind, candy-sweet smell of southern flowers in a hot small Krimean town. The fact that the revolution is coming closer makes it eary and subtly frightening, as if you know that there`s a needle in someone`s bouquet of camelias.

The acting is done in a way that you can`t believe it is not documentary, but film frames are like a picture frames, they airy and weightlessly capture fading scenes of decadent beauty. Then the violence comes and awakens the characters, they are silly,comical and immensely tragic at the same time.But even the shootings and some real documental footage don`t brake the atmosphiere, it only changes, darkens, like before the storm. All of it is symbolically captured in a scene in the garden, when the operator is trying to tell Olga that the old life is stale, unjust, senseless, the rush of wind runs over the park growing in strength along with the monologue. But she does not understand him, she thinks he`s just jealous and laughs in ignorance of the storms to come.

14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Classic live, 23 February 2004

I read a comment from one of the readers that he has a difficulty understanding the film from the Western point of view. At least this time the viewer admits having problems with crossing the cultural boundary. Film is not riddled with cliches, it`s theatrical and highly artistic. It should be viewed almost as a poem translated into reality. It doest`n ask from actors just stand there and act natural, it asks for a brilliant, almost satirical work, which is performed in this movie perfectly. Realism is not the goal here. And yet, story like that very well could happened at that time, to the smallest details.

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