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Russia


Animated Soviet Propaganda: From the October Revolution to Perestroika (4 DVD Set)

Animated Soviet Propaganda: From the October Revolution to Perestroika (4 DVD Set) Lowest new price: $60.95
Lowest used price: $42.99
List price: $89.95
Brand: KINO VIDEO
Model: 2291222

A landmark four disc Box Set - Unearthed from Moscow's legendary Soyuzmultfilm Studios, the 41 films in ANIMATED SOVIET PROPAGANDA span sixty years of Soviet history (1924 - 1984), and have never been available before in the U.S. The set is divided thematically into four discs, all dealing with different subjects of the Soviet propaganda machine. (DISC 1) AMERICAN IMPERIALISTS contains seven films, almost all of which are drawn from the Cold War era. The recurring image is of the money hungry industrialist self-destructing because of his greed. (DISC 2) FASCIST BARBARIANS is a 17 film reaction to the Nazi invasion of 1941. While Americans were mocked relentlessly, at least they remained human. After breaking the non-aggression pact and declaring war, the Nazis became animals in the propaganda films, turning into snarling warthogs and depraved vultures. (DISC 3) CAPITALIST SHARKS contains six films that take on the bourgeoisie the world over - and sometimes beyond. In INTERPLANTERY REVOLUTION (1924), capitalists escaping to Mars discover the revolution has spread throughout the galaxy. (DISC 4) ONWARD TO THE SHINING FUTURE: COMMUNISM contains 11 works, most of which mythologize the state and envision the inevitable utopias of the future. Dziga Vertov's SOVIET TOYS (1924), however, offers criticism of the state. Generally agreed to be the first Russian animated film, it satirizes the communist members who cashed in on Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP), which introduced a limited form of capitalist enterprise. - Containing 6 hours of rare material in all, this four-disc DVD set offers a fascinating look at the history of Soviet propaganda. It is an invaluable resource that displays how one of the greatest and most reclusive powers wanted their people to envision the rest of the world, as well as being an idiosyncratic tour through Russia's rich and varied history of animated art. Russia 1924-1984 B&W and Color - 360min - Full Screen (1.33:1) - In Russian with English subtitles

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Man With a Movie Camera

Man With a Movie Camera Lowest new price: $18.55
Lowest used price: $16.98
List price: $28.87
Brand: Kino Video
Model: 2254770

Dziga Vertov's Man With A Movie Camera is considered one of the most innovative and influential films of the silent era. Startlingly modern, this film utilizes a groundbreaking style of rapid editing and incorporates innumerable other cinematic effects to create a work of amazing power and energy. After his work on The Commissar Vanishes, a multi-media art event of 1999, composer Michael Nyman (The Piano) continued researching the period of extraordinary creativity that followed the Russian Revolution. This artistic inquiry resulted in the celebrated score for Man With a Movie Camera, performed by The Michael Nyman Band on May 17, 2002 at London's Royal Festival Hall. This dawn-to-dusk view of the Soviet Union offers a montage of urban Russian life, showing the people of the city at work and at play, and the machines that endlessly whirl to keep the metropolis alive. It was Vertov's first full-length film, and it employs all the cinematic techniques at the director's disposal - dissolves, split-screens, slow motion and freeze frames - to produce a work that is exhilarating and intellectually brilliant.

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Swan Lake: The Bolshoi Theatre and the Company of the Bolshoi Ballet

Swan Lake: The Bolshoi Theatre and the Company of the Bolshoi Ballet Lowest new price: $18.13
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List price: $29.99
Brand: Kulter

The Bolshoi Ballet Company in the Ultimate Swan Lake, Filmed Live at the Bolshoi Theatre, Starring Natalia Bessmertnova and Alexander Bogatyrev

Classic ballet at its best! Video

This performance offers a fine view of the liquid, lyric style of the Bolshoi Corps. Anna Kisselgoff

Bessmertnova dances ravishingly and the camera work is beyond reproach. Ballet News

This Swan Lake performs the most difficult promenades, leaps and pirouettes with commanding ease and poise. Dance Magazine

The aristocratic beauty of the Bolshoi makes The Ultimate Swan Lake alive with ennobling presence and artistry. Natalia Bessmertnova is soft and lyrical in the dual role of Odette and Odile; her eminently feminine quality makes her the ideal interpreter of this classic. The elegance and magnetism of Siegfried is masterfully created by Alexander Bogatyrev. The Ultimate Swan Lake is an exquisitely designed, opulently mounted production unlike any other. Choreographed by the critically acclaimed Yuri Grigorvich, with the Moscow Symphonic Orchestra under the baton of Algis Zhuraitis. Gene Kelly host-narrates this production, which is The Ultimate ballet treasure on video.

Cast
Natalia Bessmertnova: Odette/Odile
Alexander Bogatyrev: Prince Siegfried
Boris Akimov: Von Rothbart
Choreographed, Written and Staging & Choreography by Yuri Grigorovich
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Under the baton of Algis Zhuraitis

Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky's first ballet score and had its premiere on January 27, 1895.

Act I:
The Palace Gardens-
During Prince Siegfrieds s 21st birthday party, his mother announces that it's time for the Prince to marry. The Prince is aghast and depressed; his friends suggest a hunt of the swans.

Lakeside-
The Prince meets Odette, Queen Of the Swans, who is under a spell of the evil Von Rothbart. It can only be lifted if a man swears to love her and be faithful. Only then can she appear always as a woman. The Prince swears to love Odette. Von Rothbart appears and the Prince takes aim, only to be saved by Odette who knows that Von Rothbart must live if the spell is to be broken. The Swan maidens dance their celebrated waltz and dawn breaks as the maidens return to their swan identities.

Act II:
The Palace Ballroom-
The Prince Mother presents six potential brides. Von Rothbart (in human guise) and his daughter Odile arrive (she having been made by her father to look like Odette). The real Odette appears at the castle window and watches as the Prince, now under Von Rothbart s spell, swears to marry Odile. Von Rothbart then reveals his and Odile's true identities and Siegfried dashes off to find Odette.

Act III:
Lakeside-
Odette believes Siegfried has broken his vow and determines to kill herself. The Prince begs forgiveness which she grants, but says she must die. Von Rothbart attempts to drive the Prince away and keep Odette for himself. Odette flings herself into the lake and is followed by Siegfried. Von Rothbart dies, mortally wounded by his act of love. The swan maidens watch as Odette and Siegfried journey on to everlasting happiness.

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Three Soviet Classics (Earth / The End of St. Petersburg / Chess Fever)

Three Soviet Classics (Earth / The End of St. Petersburg / Chess Fever) Lowest new price: $12.80
Lowest used price: $7.52
List price: $28.87
Brand: Kino International
Model: 2254771

One of the undisputed masterpieces of the cinema, no single viewing of Earth will ever reveal all of its poetic brilliance. The third in a triptych of films by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzheko (after Zvenigora in 1927 and Arsenal in 1928), Earth is strikingly simple in plot. On the eve of collectivization in the Ukraine, an old farmer dies peacefully in bed. His grandson Vasil has a new vision: the village council will buy a tractor to be shared among the farmers. Struggling against the superstition, rich landowners and nature itself, Vasil is ultimately the victim of a tragic murder, but the dawn brings forth a new life and the promise of prosperity to the poor village. The story itself is secondary to the beautifully stunning images that Dovzhenko creates. His love for the Ukrainian people and land intoxicates the viewer with the sensual splendors that fill the screen. Assigned to make a film commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, Vsevolod Pudovkin crafted an intensely dramatic and personal dramatization of those earth-shaking events. The End of St. Petersburg opens on a farm where a peasant must stay in the field and plow as his wife dies in childbirth. Trudging to the city to seek work, he is forced into scab labor. He tragically realizes the consequences of his mistake and violently attacks his employer. After jail, he is forced to join the army. World War I, in the best depiction yet of the horrors of battle, destroys all in its path as the bourgeois speculators grow rich. But the revolution frees St. Petersburg from the brutal yoke of the rich and there is born a new hope for the future. The New York Times remarked that "one feels sometimes as though this film were a remarkable newsreel of the Russian Revolution." Also featured on this DVD is Chess Fever a Keaton-esque comedy in which a young man's passion for the game threatens to wreck his marriage.

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Kolya

Kolya Lowest new price: $28.95
Lowest used price: $3.97
List price: $14.99
Brand: Buena Vista Home Video

Winner of the Academy Award(R) and Golden Globe as Best Foreign Language Film, this irresistible comedy treat was embraced by critics and audiences everywhere! A confirmed bachelor is in for the surprise of his life when a get-rich-quick scheme backfires ... setting off a wild set of circumstances -- and leaving him with a pint-sized new roommate! Now, with a mischievous five-year-old named Kolya suddenly in his care ... life in this once carefree playboy's tiny apartment changes faster than he could ever imagine! Uplifting and endlessly funny, KOLYA is delightful motion picture entertainment you'll want to take home!

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Quiet Flows the Don

Quiet Flows the Don Lowest new price: $159.00
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Brand: Kino International

Within the sylvan hills of Russia's Don River valley, Grigori, a fiery and cruel young Cossack, takes up with Aksiniya, the wife of a fellow warrior. The brawling beauty of Cossack village life and the violent upheaval of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution form a spectacular backdrop for a romance as real as it is tragic. Driven to deception and disgrace, the two lovers battle the condemnation of the old order and the dangers of a dawning new world.

Quiet Flows the Don is a film of truly epic proportions, based on the Nobel prize-winning novel by Mikail Sholokov. At 5 1/2 hours long, this love story chronologically centered on the Russian Revolution is probably the most detailed account of Cossack culture that exists cinematically. Grigory Melekhov (Pyotr Glebov) is a Cossack who falls in love with a fellow soldier's wife, Askinia (Elina Bystritskaya), which causes scandal in their small village along the Don River. Askinia's husband repeatedly beats her, and when she becomes pregnant Grigory takes her away, to escape her brutal husband and Grigory's wife by arranged marriage, Nathalia (Zinaida Kiriyenko). When war hits, Grigory is drafted and leaves Askinia to care for the baby, which results in tragedy. World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution take up the bulk of the plot that details the political discrepancies between the Reds and Whites within Russian borders. Quiet Flows the Don, therefore, is as politically enlightening as it is a fascinating look at the Cossacks' rich heritage. Relentlessly slow at times, the film is indicative of the Russian affinity (in literature) for describing the human condition in excruciating detail, as a tragedy that is only sometimes relieved by love. The levels of tragedy in Quiet Flows the Don delve so deep that it is hard to watch, though one feels it worthwhile to persevere for kernels of truth nonetheless. A full DVD of extras, such as interviews with the actors and shorts about Cossack culture, make the 4-disc set feel especially complete. --Trinie Dalton

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The White Sun of the Desert

The White Sun of the Desert

In this international cult favorite, a Central-Asian action film, the Red Army clashes with counter-revolutionary robber bands. Demobbed soldier Fyodor Sukhov is making his way through the desert to his home village, where the band of brutal Abdulla is raging. Sukhov is charged with escorting the chief's harem, because Abdulla intended to kill his women rather than let them go free. Sukhov"s mate, young soldier Petrukha, dies at the hand of Abdulla, but at a decisive moment, Sukhov gets help from the former customs officer Vereschchagin and a poor peasant.

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Sauna

Sauna Lowest new price: $12.86
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List price: $19.98
Brand: MPI Home Video
Model: 5821673

A chilling horror film, SAUNA explores the space between Christianity and paganism. The year 1595- a long and brutal war is finally over. Brothers Knut and Erik- who are part of a commission marking the border between Finland and Russia- commit a terrible sin as they leave a young girl to die a horrible death. As the commission crosses the uncharted swamp, the girl returns to haunt them. Weary men find solace from the nameless village and find a sauna- the sauna where all sins are washed away. Seeking forgiveness the brothers step in…

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  • SAUNA (DVD MOVIE)

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I Am Cuba

I Am Cuba Lowest new price: $54.98
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A most acclaimed discovery, I Am Cuba will change your view of cinema forever! Filmed by great Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov (The Cranes Are Flying), I Am Cuba is an epic poem to Communist kitsch--a whirling, feverish dance through the sensuous decadence of Battista's Havana and the grinding poverty and oppression of the Cuban people. Presented jointly by master directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, I Am Cuba has received universal acclaim and admiration from around the world as a true classic of world cinema. In Spanish and Russian with English subtitles. 140 minutes.

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Alexander Nevsky

Alexander Nevsky Lowest new price: $28.81
Lowest used price: $8.95

Director Sergei Eisenstein's epic ALEXANDER NEVSKY features some of the most beautiful imagery ever put on film, a majestic music score by Prokifiev and a dazzling, climactic battle on a frozen lake. In 1242, Russia in being invaded by two sides: from the orient by the Mongols and from Europe by the Germans Teutonic Knights of the Holy Roman Empire. The last free city in Russia, Novgorod, calls the Prince Aleksandr Nevsky, who had defeated the Swedish in a previous battle, to defend the city.

Sergei Eisenstein's landmark tale of Russia thwarting the German invasion of the 13th century was wildly popular and quite intentional, given the prevailing Nazi geopolitical advancement and destruction at the time. It can still be viewed as a masterful use of imagery and music, with the Battle on the Ice sequence as the obvious highlight. Unfortunately, the rest of the film pales in comparison. A great score by Prokofiev was effectively integrated by the Russian filmmaker, but stands on its own merit as well. --Bill Desowitz

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