5 Soviet films that amazed foreigners
Hollywood and Western cinematography has long captured the interests of the Russian audience. While strict censorship released foreign films only after the removal of certain scenes, Westerns were gaining momentum in America, and in Europe – comedy melodramas, exposing not only the truth of life, but women’s bodies.
This excited the consciousness of the Soviet citizen, because our films were filmed not only for entertainment, but also to educate human values, patriotism, and civic responsibility.
But everything alien is especially attractive. European and American viewers were also actively interested in Soviet life. Many domestic films were still released abroad and won the hearts of overseas film lovers. Some of our tapes have made a splash and have won prestigious awards.
1. “Moscow does not believe in tears”, 1979
The Soviet picture, in the center of which is the life of a simple girl, conquered with its sincerity not only the domestic audience, but also the foreign one. The Oscar-winning film became so popular that over 200 million people watched it from 1850 to 1855.
The love of Soviet people for the picture is easy to explain: there is a stellar cast, the difficult life of ordinary people and such a necessary and important happy ending for the viewer. What the foreigners liked, we can only guess. Perhaps it reveals the “behind the scenes” of Soviet life and the character of our man.
Even American President Reagan watched “Moscow does not believe in tears” on the eve of Gorbachev’s visit. Thanks to watching the film, the US leader was able to get better acquainted with the culture of the USSR, but the secret of the Russian soul remained unsolved.
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2. “The Cranes Are Flying”, 1957
The picture is about love and hopes, crashed against the horrors of war. The film was shot without a single battle scene, but very subtly conveys the pain of an ordinary person. The film by Mikhail Kalatozov “The Cranes Are Flying” won the hearts of not only Soviet viewers, but also foreign ones.
By an amazing coincidence, the famous French actor, director and cameraman Claude Lelouch got to the shooting of the film. Delighted with the cinematography and directing work, on his return to France, he recommended the picture to the directors of the Cannes Film Festival. Thus, in the history of Soviet and Russian cinematography, the first and currently the only film that won the main prize of the Palme d’Or festival appeared.
Despite the success in America and Europe, the film did not sound too loud in the USSR. The tape did not correspond to Soviet ideology, and the heroine of the film did not correspond to the canons of socialist realism. However, the audience fell in love with her, both Soviet and foreign. Tatyana Samoilova, who played the main role, was invited to shoot in Hollywood. And for many years French girls painted eyes “like those of Samoilova.”
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3. “White Sun of the Desert”, 1969
The domestic picture was conceived in the genre of an American western. At the same time, according to the idea of Vladimir Motyl, it should have contained true revolutionary sentiments. But the author did not fulfill all the requirements. The concrete walls of the censorship did not allow the painting to pass, and she went to rest.
According to legend, the film was accidentally watched by Leonid Brezhnev. Completely delighted with the viewing, he demanded to immediately release the film in wide distribution and prepare the tape for screening abroad. And he was not mistaken: foreigners liked the picture very much. By the way, quotes from the film, for example, “The East is a delicate matter”, became winged not only at home, but also in English-speaking countries.
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4. “Mom”, 1976
This film is often compared to the American musical Cats. Initially, the picture was filmed in several languages at once, in order to be released abroad. The filmmakers made no mistake, betting on popularity outside the countries of production.
The picture has become so popular and loved by Europeans that in Norway, for example, it is traditionally shown on New Year’s Eve to this day. And the Romanians still call their folk tale about the wolf and the kids as the primary source of the film. So, the plot, familiar to everyone from early childhood, turned into a masterpiece thanks to the wonderful Lyudmila Gurchenko and Mikhail Boyarsky. The painting was awarded a special jury prize at the IFF for Children and Youth in Venice.
5. “Kin-Dza-Dza”, 1986
The low-budget Soviet painting “Kin-dza-dza” by Georgy Danelia has become incredibly popular not only at home, but also abroad. This film was successfully released in Europe, Asia and on two American continents.
The talented director skillfully conveyed the mood of the approaching collapse of the country, while he especially believed in the triumph of humanism. But the foreign viewer saw a dystopia in the film. It was not easy for them to understand the bitter ironic humor of this motion picture. However, foreign film connoisseurs have a rating of 8.2 points out of 10.
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