100 Russian and Eastern European Classics project

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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MichaelB
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#1 Post by MichaelB » Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:46 am

In an attempt to do something more constructive with my blog than random jottings on films I happen to be watching in connection with external commissions, I thought I'd attempt a more structured overview of Russian and Eastern European cinema.

With that in mind, I've drawn up a shortlist of 100 classics, based on the following arbitrary rules:

1. Must be available (or imminent) on English-friendly DVD;
2. No more than three titles per director (to prevent a glut of Tarkovsky, Kieslowski, Eisenstein, etc.), preferably showing a wide range (so three very different Wajdas as opposed to three WWII reconstructions);
3. Must be notable in some way, whether artistically or commercially (big domestic hits like The Diamond Arm, Moscow Distrusts Tears and Kontroll are certainly valid);
4. As many Oscar and major festival winners as possible (reflecting international recognition);
5. Must reflect the native culture in some way (so no Repulsions or Mephistos);

...and this is what I ended up with on a first attempt:

1. Cameraman's Revenge, (d. Wladyslaw Starewicz, 1911, Russia)
2. Twilight of a Woman's Soul, (d. Evgeni Bauer, 1913, Russia)
3. Strike, (d. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925, USSR)
4. Battleship Potemkin, (d. Sergei Eisenstein, 1926, USSR)
5. The End of St Petersburg, (d. Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1927, USSR)
6. Erotikon, (d. Gustav Machaty, 1929, Czechoslovakia)
7. Man with a Movie Camera, (d. Dziga Vertov, 1929, USSR)
8. Earth, (d. Alexander Dovzhenko, 1930, USSR)
9. Kristian, (d. Martin Fric, 1939, Czechoslovakia)
10. Ivan the Terrible, (d. Sergei Eisenstein, 1944, USSR)
11. Distant Journey, (d. Alfred Radok, 1949, Czechoslovakia)
12. Merry-Go-Round, (d. Zoltan Fabri, 1955, Hungary)
13. Ilya Muromets, (d. Alexander Ptushko, 1956, USSR)
14. The Cranes Are Flying, (d. Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957, USSR)
15. Ashes and Diamonds, (d. Andrzej Wajda, 1958, Poland)
16. Dom, (d. Walerian Borowczyk/Jan Lenica, 1958, Poland)
17. Two Men and a Wardrobe, (d. Roman Polanski, 1958, Poland)
18. Destiny of a Man, (d. Sergei Bondarchuk, 1959, USSR)
19. Lady with the Little Dog, (d. Josef Heifits, 1960, USSR)
20. Ballad of a Soldier, (d. Grigori Chukhrai, 1961, USSR)
21. Mother Joan of the Angels, (d. Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1961, Poland)
22. Passenger, (d. Andrzej Munk, 1961, Poland)
23. Knife in the Water, (d. Roman Polanski, 1962, Poland)
24. Labyrinth, (d. Jan Lenica, 1962, Poland)
25. Hamlet, (d. Grigori Kozintsev, 1964, USSR)
26. Lemonade Joe, (d. Oldrich Lipsky, 1964, Czechoslovakia)
27. Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors, (d. Sergo Paradjanov, 1964, USSR)
28. A Blonde in Love, (d. Milos Forman, 1965, Czechoslovakia)
29. Intimate Lighting, (d. Ivan Passer, 1965, Czechoslovakia)
30. The Corporal and the Others, (d. Marton Keleti, 1965, Hungary)
31. The Hand, (d. Jiri Trnka, 1965, Czechoslovakia)
32. The Round-Up, (d. Miklos Jancso, 1965, Hungary)
33. The Saragossa Manuscript, (d. Wojciech Has, 1965, Poland)
34. The Shop on Main Street, (d. Jan Kadar/Elmar Klos, 1965, Czechoslovakia)
35. Andrei Rublev, (d. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966, USSR)
36. Closely Observed Trains, (d. Jiri Menzel, 1966, Czechoslovakia)
37. The Party and the Guests, (d. Jan Nemec, 1966, Czechoslovakia)
38. War and Peace, (d. Sergei Bondarchuk, 1966, USSR)
39. Daisies, (d. Vera Chytilova, 1967, Czechoslovakia)
40. I Even Met Some Happy Gypsies, (d. Aleksandar Petrovic, 1967, Yugoslavia)
41. Marketa Lazarova, (d. Frantisek Vlacil, 1967, Czechoslovakia)
42. The Commissar, (d. Alexander Askoldov, 1967, USSR)
43. The Firemen's Ball, (d. Milos Forman, 1967, Czechoslovakia)
44. The Cremator, (d. Juraj Herz, 1968, Czechoslovakia)
45. The Glass Harmonica, (d. Andrei Khrzhanovsky, 1968, USSR)
46. Colour of Pomegranates, (d. Sergo Paradjanov, 1969, USSR)
47. The Diamond Arm, (d. Leonid Gaidai, 1969, USSR)
48. The Ear, (d. Karel Kachyna, 1969, Czechoslovakia)
49. The Witness, (d. Peter Bacso, 1969, Hungary)
50. Valerie and her Week of Wonders, (d. Jaromil Jires, 1970, Czechoslovakia)
51. WR Mysteries of the Organism, (d. Dusan Makavejev, 1970, Yugoslavia)
52. Love, (d. Karoly Makk, 1971, Hungary)
53. Szindbad, (d. Zoltan Huszarik, 1971, Hungary)
54. The Third Part of the Night, (d. Andrzej Zulawski, 1971, Poland)
55. Illumination, (d. Krzysztof Zanussi, 1972, Poland)
56. Pictures of the Old World, (d. Dusan Hanak, 1972, Czechoslovakia)
57. The Wedding, (d. Andrzej Wajda, 1973, Poland)
58. Mirror, (d. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975, USSR)
59. Budapest Tales, (d. Istvan Szabo, 1976, Hungary)
60. Man of Marble, (d. Andrzej Wajda, 1976, Poland)
61. Autumn Marathon, (d. Georgy Danelia, 1979, USSR)
62. Camera Buff, (d. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1979, Poland)
63. Moscow Distrusts Tears, (d. Vladimir Menshov, 1979, USSR)
64. Siberiade, (d. Andrei Konchalovsky, 1979, USSR)
65. Stalker, (d. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979, USSR)
66. Tale of Tales, (d. Yuri Norstein, 1979, USSR)
67. Tango, (d. Zbigniew Rybczynski, 1980, Poland)
68. Dimensions of Dialogue, (d. Jan Svankmajer, 1982, Czechoslovakia)
69. Interrogation, (d. Ryszard Bugajski, 1982, Poland)
70. Diary For My Children, (d. Marta Meszaros, 1984, Hungary)
71. Repentance, (d. Tengiz Abuladze, 1984, USSR)
72. Come And See, (d. Elem Klimov, 1985, USSR)
73. My Sweet Little Village, (d. Jiri Menzel, 1985, Czechoslovakia)
74. The Pied Piper, (d. Jiri Barta, 1985, Czechoslovakia)
75. When Father Was Away On Business, (d. Emir Kusturica, 1985, Yugoslavia)
76. A Short Film About Killing, (d. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1987, Poland)
77. Cold Summer of 1953, (d. Alexander Proshkin, 1987, USSR)
78. The Double Life of Veronique, (d. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991, Poland/France)
79. Sweet Emma Dear Bobe, (d. Istvan Szabo, 1993, Hungary)
80. Burnt By The Sun, (d. Nikita Mikhalkov, 1994, Russia)
81. Satantango, (d. Bela Tarr, 1994, Hungary)
82. Underground, (d. Emir Kusturica, 1994, Yugoslavia)
83. Conspirators of Pleasure, (d. Jan Svankmajer, 1996, Czech Republic)
84. Kolja, (d. Jan Sverak, 1996, Czech Republic)
85. Brother, (d. Alexei Balabanov, 1997, Russia)
86. Of Freaks and Men, (d. Alexei Balabanov, 1998, Russia)
87. The Wounds, (d. Srdjan Dragojevic, 1998, Serbia)
88. Divided We Fall, (d. Jan Hrebejk, 2000, Czech Republic)
89. Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease, (d. Krzysztof Zanussi, 2000, Poland)
90. Loners, (d. David Ondricek, 2000, Czech Republic)
91. No Man's Land, (d. Danis Tanovic, 2001, Bosnia)
92. Werckmeister Harmonies, (d. Bela Tarr, 2001, Hungary)
93. Hukkle, (d. Gyorgy Palfi, 2002, Hungary)
94. Russian Ark, (d. Alexander Sokurov, 2002, Russia)
95. Kontroll, (d. Nimrod Antal, 2003, Hungary)
96. The Return, (d. Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2003, Russia)
97. Night Watch, (d. Timur Bekmambetov, 2004, Russia)
98. Fateless, (d. Lajos Koltai, 2005, Hungary)
99. The Death of Mr Lazarescu, (d. Cristi Puiu, 2005, Romania)
100. Border Post, (d. Rajko Grlic, 2006, Croatia)

Any really painfully obvious omissions? Or titles that are completely unjustifiable? (I've seen 79 to date, so I'm going by reputation in some cases)

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Steven H
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#2 Post by Steven H » Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:17 pm

Kadar and Klos' Adrift, or Desire is Called Anada (Touha zvana Anada, 1969) is one of the best films of the 60s (its going in my top twenty, I think), and much better, in my opinion, than the still great Shop On Main Street. I think there's an english subtitled copy floating around the internet, but I don't think its imminent to official release world, so I guess its excluded from your list. But still, Adrift is a beautiful film for fans of that "unreal" feeling, something uniquely shot, and a kind cinema that really keeps you guessing.

Great list, by the way. Lots of films I want to see on that. It might also be useful to have links to where to get them (if available), but that would probably take a lot of work. Oh, and thanks, as the Hames Czech new wave book is great (I think you're the person who recommended it.)

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MichaelB
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#3 Post by MichaelB » Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:24 pm

Steven H wrote:Great list, by the way. Lots of films I want to see on that. It might also be useful to have links to where to get them (if available), but that would probably take a lot of work. Oh, and thanks, as the Hames Czech new wave book is great (I think you're the person who recommended it.)
The work's already underway, but it'll take a fair bit of time to get anywhere close to completion.

But in the meantime, I've ported the list over to my blog (here), added original-language titles, and supplied links to 21 reviews (Sight & Sound, DVD Times, etc.) that I'd already written, most of which supply DVD details. Aside from a couple of upcoming Second Run releases and one or two which may have slipped out of print since I bought them, virtually everything is available on DVD right now.

Glad you like the Hames book - it was indeed me who recommended it.
Last edited by MichaelB on Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#4 Post by Stagger Lee » Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:06 pm

Is not Mother and Son considered a better film than Russian Ark, despite the latter's technical achievement? Isn't it also more representative of Sokurov's modus operandi? I admit that I haven't seen it yet (DVD should arrive today), so I may be mistaken.

Thanks for the excellent list, too. It should be extremely helpful.

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#5 Post by MichaelB » Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:05 pm

Stagger Lee wrote:Is not Mother and Son considered a better film than Russian Ark, despite the latter's technical achievement? Isn't it also more representative of Sokurov's modus operandi? I admit that I haven't seen it yet (DVD should arrive today), so I may be mistaken.
Yes, I probably should add an earlier Sokurov - I haven't actually seen Mother and Son yet, though I've watched some of the Elegies (courtesy of Facets' uncharacteristically excellent releases). And Mother and Son's reputation very much precedes it.

I might drop one of the consecutive Balabanovs to make it fit - though it's hard to choose between Brother and Of Freaks and Men. (I much prefer the latter, though Brother is a far more important film in terms of exemplifying what was happening in Russian cinema at the time).

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Lemmy Caution
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#6 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:19 pm

Interesting list.
Though only 18 films pre-1960 seems rather light.
I have a few suggestions, though they too are all post-1960:

Beg -- (ds. Aleksandr Alov & Vladimir Naumov, 1970); aka The Flight

I thought the first half of this film was utterly spellbinding. Based on a Bulgakov play about the defeat of the White Russians and later their exile. Truly epic, with some great acting.

How about East German films? I was particularly thinking about Nackt unter Wölfen (Frank Beyer, 1963); aka Naked Among Wolves, a film which is a little difficult for me to judge since I watched it without subtitles. Has the added advantage of being from 1963, a year otherwise unrepresented on your list.

Or Ich war neunzehn (Konrad Wolf, 1968) aka I Was Nineteen -- which I also have without subtitles but haven't watched yet.

Okraina (Pyotr Lutsik, 1998) aka The Outskirts is an unsettling and amazing film. It was released by Facets, but doesn't seem to be widely known. A haunting, relentless film. A descent into the brutal part of a Russian soul.

4 (Ilya Khrjanovsky, 2005) is a strange and interesting film, if not wholly successful. Might be a controversial addition to your list, but I would have no problem with it replacing the uninspired Death of Mr Lazarescu from the same year.

The Russian silent, Konets Sankt-Peterburga (Vsevolod Pudovkin & Mikhail Doller, 1927) aka The End of St. Petersburg, is supposed to be impressive, but I haven't seen it. Not sure of Dvd availability.

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MichaelB
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#7 Post by MichaelB » Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:29 pm

Lemmy Caution wrote:Interesting list.
Though only 18 films pre-1960 seems rather light.
It does, but this is as much due to availability as for any other reason. There's actually a surprising amount of 1930s/40s/50s Czech cinema available, courtesy of the admirable Filmexport Home Video label, but the list is already pretty Czech-heavy to begin with.
How about East German films? I was particularly thinking about Nackt unter Wölfen (Frank Beyer, 1963); aka Naked Among Wolves, a film which is a little difficult for me to judge since I watched it without subtitles. Has the added advantage of being from 1963, a year otherwise unrepresented on your list.
Yes, I should have something from East Germany. But availability on English-friendly DVD is a sticking-point with me, as a key part of this project is to encourage greater access.
4 (Ilya Khrjanovsky, 2005) is a strange and interesting film, if not wholly successful. Might be a controversial addition to your list, but I would have no problem with it replacing the uninspired Death of Mr Lazarescu from the same year.
I don't have any problem with controversy, but I didn't like 4 much - it rather lost me after that superb half-hour opening scene in the bar. And The Death of Mr Lazarescu (which in any case I like more than you do) is one of the most important recent Eastern European films in terms of impact and influence - and the only Romanian one on my list. Had I compiled it a few months down the line, 1208 East of Bucharest and especially 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days would definitely be included - I suspect both their DVDs will be out by this time next year.

(I'm also well aware that some countries - Albania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, the Baltic states - aren't currently represented at all, which is entirely due to near-total ignorance on my part)
The Russian silent, Konets Sankt-Peterburga (Vsevolod Pudovkin & Mikhail Doller, 1927) aka The End of St. Petersburg, is supposed to be impressive, but I haven't seen it. Not sure of Dvd availability.
It's out on DVD... and already on my list! I thought it would be a more interesting addition than the otherwise inevitable October, which freed up a place for Strike (my favourite silent Eisenstein).

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#8 Post by mmacklem » Sat Sep 15, 2007 5:31 pm

Setting aside the exclusion of Mephisto (which I understand your reasoning for), I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind the two choices of Istvan Szabo films that you've selected. Father and Lovefilm are, in my opinion, much more representative movies. I would make the same case for Marta Meszaros' wonderful Adoption instead of Diary For My Children.

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#9 Post by MichaelB » Sat Sep 15, 2007 6:05 pm

mmacklem wrote:Setting aside the exclusion of Mephisto (which I understand your reasoning for), I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind the two choices of Istvan Szabo films that you've selected. Father and Lovefilm are, in my opinion, much more representative movies. I would make the same case for Marta Meszaros' wonderful Adoption instead of Diary For My Children.
Are any of them available on English-subtitled DVDs? And if so, where do I get them from?

(The reasoning behind Sweet Emma, Dear Böbe is pretty straightforward - it's one of the most vivid portraits of Eastern European life in the very early post-Communist period that I've seen. But I'm less enamoured of Budapest Tales, so would be quite happy to consider an alternative).

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#10 Post by mmacklem » Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:06 pm

MichaelB wrote:Are any of them available on English-subtitled DVDs? And if so, where do I get them from?

(The reasoning behind Sweet Emma, Dear Böbe is pretty straightforward - it's one of the most vivid portraits of Eastern European life in the very early post-Communist period that I've seen. But I'm less enamoured of Budapest Tales, so would be quite happy to consider an alternative).
All three are available in Region 1 releases from Kino (yes, yes, I know) with English subtitles and no other extras. If you like the depiction of early post-Comunist life in Sweet Emma, Dear Bobe, then all three of the recommended titles are quite appropriate for further exploration.

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#11 Post by skuhn8 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:14 am

MichaelB wrote:
mmacklem wrote:I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind the two choices of Istvan Szabo films that you've selected. Father and Lovefilm are, in my opinion, much more representative movies.
(The reasoning behind Sweet Emma, Dear Böbe is pretty straightforward - it's one of the most vivid portraits of Eastern European life in the very early post-Communist period that I've seen. But I'm less enamoured of Budapest Tales, so would be quite happy to consider an alternative).
I'd have to begrudgingly agree that Budapest Tales is one of Szabo's weaker, perhaps too heavy handed, efforts; but feel strongly that Sweet Emma, Dear Böbe is one of his strongest if not THE strongest Szabo film to date. Lovefilm was pretty well done by kino, actually my first glimpse at Hungarian cinema (strangely unavailable in Hungary) and would definitely add it to the list. Haven't seen Father yet. Was this the one that was premiered at an Australian Festival, and then the Hungarian authorities informed them that they might as well keep the print as the authorities back home were busy burning the other prints?

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#12 Post by ezmbmh » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:41 pm

A Résszleg (The Outpost), Péter Gothár, Hungary, 1995. Saw this at a film festival and never forgot it. Anyone else familiar with it? Realize this isn't available on DVD, so maybe the wrong place to post. Still, a fascinating disturbing film.

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zedz
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#13 Post by zedz » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:44 pm

Interesting project, and great list. I'll need to put some thought into omissions, but it does seem light on women. Muratova is essential, but I don't know if any of her key films are available (The Asthenic Syndrome is the obvious contender; Chekhovian Motifs is available with subs from Ruscico, but is real immersion / aversion therapy for neophytes; Three Stories, if available, would be a better compromise), also Shepitko's The Ascent (is it out?) and something by Lydia Bobrova (Babushka is available with subs in France, but In That Country or Hey, You Wild Geese are stronger works, if they're available).

One Jansco is not enough, and there are several key titles available. Red Psalm provides a good contrast with The Round-Up, and demonstrates how far he took his aesthetic.

Re: East Germany, Mark of the Stones is the key title from the mid-60s, and I believe it was coming out soon (maybe it's already out?)
ezmbmh wrote:A Résszleg (The Outpost), Péter Gothár, Hungary, 1995. Saw this at a film festival and never forgot it. Anyone else familiar with it? Realize this isn't available on DVD, so maybe the wrong place to post. Still, a fascinating disturbing film.
Ooh, this rang a distant bell with me, so I dug up my comments from the time (1996). I'd love to see this again. There are spoilers, of course, but the chances of seeing this film are probably remote.
a younger, more impressionable zedz wrote:An interesting fable with a real Soviet feel. Obscure functionary travels to take up her new position. And travels, and travels, and travels. . . the premise is strong and it's enacted in striking settings (increasiingly forbidding and bleak). The ordeal, spiced with obscure indignities - one man tears the labels from her Dior panties, another trades her leather boots for free gumboots - becomes increasingly unnerving as we begin to suspect that Gisella is being sent to some modern snowbound Gulag (possibly for the obscure sin of her ex-husband). Eventually, she arrives at a hut in an isolated valley where a man lives with several weasels in what looks like self-patrolled incarceration. His stark lifestyle (no heat, no light, just the weasels whose affections Gisella soon alienates) is imposed on Gisella, and he informs her that he may be able to touch her in a year or two. The most explicitly Kafkaesque moment is when the unnamed man (who knows Gisella from the past) tells her that she "has been sent here to think about why she has been sent here". While I found the film less eerie than I had hoped, it does do a great job of gradually building a tone of uncomprehending menace, of being absurdist without becoming absurd.
The only thing I actually remember about the film is that it didn't quite live up to expectations, but rereading these comments I'm as keen to see it as ever.

As for the list, the absence of Soviet socialist realism is a major gap, but I don't know whether any of those films are available. Chapayev is the big one, a film that dominated Soviet film culture for decades, but anything (We From Kronstadt, Gorky Trilogy) would be better than nothing.

Another Romanian film would be desirable: if you've got two Kusturicas, surely there should be something by Pintilie. The Oak, preferably, but whatever's available basically.

If you need to make room for any or all of these recent suggestions, I'd suggest losing Two Men and a Wardrobe, one of the Balabanovs (are either of them really more crucial than a second Jancsco, or a first Muratova?) and trimming back the directors with three films to two (which might entail losing your beloved Strike and my beloved Camera Buff).

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#14 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:57 pm

Another film I'd like to suggest for consideration would be Darkness In Tallinn, but I'm afraid I have no idea about whether it is available on DVD.

mmacklem
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#15 Post by mmacklem » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:06 pm

zedz wrote:Muratova is essential, but I don't know if any of her key films are available (The Asthenic Syndrome is the obvious contender; Chekhovian Motifs is available with subs from Ruscico, but is real immersion / aversion therapy for neophytes; Three Stories, if available, would be a better compromise), also Shepitko's The Ascent (is it out?) and something by Lydia Bobrova (Babushka is available with subs in France, but In That Country or Hey, You Wild Geese are stronger works, if they're available).
Re: Muratova, I had the great pleasure of watching a Soviet New Wave retrospective in Vancouver about five years ago, which included numerous titles already on this list, and one of the best films there was Muratova's Brief Encounters, co-starring Vladimir Vissotski (basically as himself, but a very good performance nonetheless). I would love to see this included, but given that it doesn't have a DVD release yet anywhere, it's not likely to fit the requirements of the list.

(Ditto to the other best film I saw at that retrospective, Asya's Happiness by a pre-Rublev Andrei Konchalovsky.)

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#16 Post by MichaelB » Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:07 am

Thanks for all these. Muratova was on my shortlist, but I couldn't find anything of hers on DVD. I'd also prefer Asya's Happiness to Siberiade on the Konchalovsky front. And is there any pre-Lazarescu Romanian cinema out on DVD?

I also considered Darkness in Tallinn, the only Estonian film I'd ever heard of, but I think it's only been released on VHS.

I actually originally restricted the directors to two apiece, then upped it to three when I couldn't decide whether to drop Andrei Rublev, Mirror or Stalker! But cutting back to two might be the most sensible option to free up more space. Oh the joys of totally arbitrary self-defined rules!

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#17 Post by mmacklem » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:05 am

One other quick note: I second the commenter above who suggested replacing Russian Ark with Mother and Son for Sokurov's representations. I would also suggest expanding Sokurov's representation, and include Second Circle, which is an astounding film and is available R1 again via Kino. Personally, I can't imagine a list with two Balabanov's and only one Sokurov.

OK, I swear, last comment for now. Why no love for The Joke for Jaromil Jires? I saw a short retrospective of some of his films (including Valerie) and that one struck me as easily his best. I know from past discussions on this board that I seem to be alone in this opinion, unfortunately.

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Skritek
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#18 Post by Skritek » Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:40 am

I know the list is already heavy on Czech directors, but it surprises me that there is no Zeman on it. (Although I'm not sure now if his films have already been released or delayed again in the Czech Republic. Plus unfortunately "Krabat", for me his best film, isn't available anywhere)

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MichaelB
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#19 Post by MichaelB » Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:41 am

Skritek wrote:I know the list is already heavy on Czech directors, but it surprises me that there is no Zeman on it. (Although I'm not sure now if his films have already been released or delayed again in the Czech Republic. Plus unfortunately "Krabat", for me his best film, isn't available anywhere)
I'm a huge Zeman fan, but I'm not aware of any subtitled releases (at least outside Japan).

As for The Joke, I actually prefer it to Valerie, but I was very conscious that the Czech New Wave list was getting extremely long, and I already had many of the other really controversial titles (The Party and the Guests, The Firemen's Ball, The Ear etc.)

Also, Valerie is far and away Jires' best-known film outside the Czech Republic, for better or worse.

OK, I've made a few changes.

I'm now allowing just two titles per director, which eliminated Strike, Mirror, The Double Life of Veronique and The Wedding.

In their place I've added:
The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (d. Mark Donskoi, 1938, USSR)
Somewhere in Europe (Géza von Radványi, 1947, Hungary)
Red Psalm (d. Miklós Jancsó, 1971, Hungary)
Mother and Son (d. Alexander Sokurov, 1997, Russia)

I also replaced István Szabó's Budapest Tales with Lovefilm (1970).

Revised list here.

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Cinephrenic
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#20 Post by Cinephrenic » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:06 am

How about the following:

The Thief
The Ascent
Slave of Love
Waterloo
The Red and the White
The Forty-First
Last edited by Cinephrenic on Tue May 20, 2008 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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HerrSchreck
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#21 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:44 am

Beef up that early cinema!

SALT FOR SVANETIA (Khalatozov)

HAPPINESS (MEDEVKIN)

FALL OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY (Shub)

ARSENAL (Dovzhenko)

THREE SONGS OF LENIN (Vertov)

AELITA (Protazonov)

NEW BABYLON (Kozint/Trau)

DESERTER or STORM OVER ASIA (Pudovkin)

masterpieces, all...

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#22 Post by bunuelian » Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:25 am

Coming back to the boards after a long absence and it's threads like this that remind me why I love it here. A great pleasure to learn from you all.

There isn't some film better than Night Watch, though? I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I can't help but feel that it still stoops to a pretty base level. It's very similar to The Matrix in that respect - cool, with unique design and a pretty nifty experience, but 100 best?

I'd consider replacing it with a Svankmajer. I keep returning to Lunacy and can't help but feel that it's his best feature, though it's a close one, and I'm a breast man.

alfons416
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:39 am

#23 Post by alfons416 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:03 pm

interesting list, i've seen half of this films or so but i have som sugestions:

Mocny czlowiek (Henryk Szaro, 1929)
- one of the best silent films i've seen. available on dvd with english subtitles in poland.

Kradetzat na praskovi (Vulo Radev, 1964)
- fantastic bulgarian warfilm fron the 60's.

Vtackovia, siroty a blazni (Juraj Jakubisko, 1969)
- no film by Jakubisko is no way to go. this is my favorite of the 7 or so i've seen.

and Muratova is mentioned allready, the tuner, checkovian motifs, passions are available with english subtitles, my favorite of these three ar the tuner but they're all good!

Kenji
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:23 pm

#24 Post by Kenji » Tue Apr 29, 2008 5:33 pm

How about:

Mother (Pudovkin) USSR
Salt for Svanetia (Kalatozov) USSR
Fall of Leaves (Iosseliani) Georgia
The Attached Balloon (Zheliazkova) Bulgaria
Switchboard Operator (Makaveyev) former Yugoslavia
Who's Singing over There? (Sijan) former Yugoslavia
Do You remember Dolly Bell? (Kusturica) former Yugoslavia

wpqx
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:01 am

#25 Post by wpqx » Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:57 pm

Good list on a subject that seems to be disregarded in general. I'm much more familiar with Czech films than any other Eastern bloc country, and would make a strong case for Diamonds of the Night being possibly the best Czech film of all time. I know its available on VHS here in the US, but can't vouch for it's availability on DVD.

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