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Three Must-See Films at the 2016 Russian Resurrection Film Festival

Branch out from your usual Hollywood blockbuster habits this week.
By Sarah Ward
October 25, 2016
By Sarah Ward
October 25, 2016

With its iconic steps sequence and distinctive use of montage, 1925 Soviet-made movie Battleship Potemkin changed the way the world thought about film. Making enduring efforts such as Solaris and Stalker, Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky also achieved the same feat during the '60s and '70s. And in 2003, roaming historical drama Russian Ark did too courtesy of a single 96-minute take. Yep, this was more than a decade before Birdman tried something similar.

They're just some of the highlights of Russian film history, and there's more where they came from. In fact, that's the domain of the Russian Resurrection Film Festival, which brings future classics and beloved greats alike to New Zealand cinema screens for a huge celebration of Russian movie making.

In its thirteenth year, the fest has curated a collection of twenty efforts that showcase just what makes the country's film output so stellar. Whether you're keen on diving into a duelling epic, going swashbuckling with a beloved animated pirate, or catching a glimpse of uncompleted relics from the past, you'll find plenty to watch here — plus our must-see picks, of course.


Flight Crew falls into the disaster film genre — on account of its content, not its quality or performance. In fact, it's the number one movie at the Russian box office this year, as well as one of the top six of all time. Audiences sure do love watching efforts about earthquakes, volcanoes and trouble on planes, after all, and this one has all three. It's actually a remake of a 1979 Russian blockbuster disaster movie of the same name, because constantly rehashing the past isn't limited to English-language flicks, but boy oh boy does it sound entertaining.


Not every film is going to appeal to every member of the audience, but most people can recognise ambition when they see it. And that's the case with The Student, which some viewers will love and others won't — but honestly, it's genuinely hard to not be enthralled by director Kirill Serebrennikov's visual, thematic and storytelling confidence. Adapting a controversial play, he tells the tale of a teenager who starts questioning everything from his classmates swimming costumes to his biology teacher's lessons as he becomes more and more immersed in religion. The end result certainly got Cannes talking, and it's completely different to any other high school-set film you're likely to come across.


An Irish filmmaker heads to Moscow with Moscow Never Sleeps — though that's the story behind the movie, rather than the movie itself. In his second Russian-made feature, writer/director Johnny O'Reilly dives into the nation's capital through the antics of five different people going about their daily lives over a 24-hour period. Yep, just about everywhere you can think of boasts a film like this (or a few), but there's a reason that they keep popping up. How better to get a glimpse into the reality of another city and country than through overlapping, intertwined narratives?

The Russian Resurrection Film Festival is happening at Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket from October 25-30. For more information, visit the festival website.

Published on October 25, 2016 by Sarah Ward
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