TZAREVNA SCALING (Berlinale 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Drenched in folklore but set in an anachronistically banal world of banal, automated bureaucracy, Russian costume designer and fashion photographer Uldus Bakhtiozina holds nothing back in her fiercely stylish debut feature, Tzarevna Scaling, a film whose story might not stay with you forever, but whose striking, bold imagery will be much harder to shake.

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DEAR COMRADES – Review by Diane Carson

In the opening scenes of Dear Comrades!, June 1, 1962, rumors of food price increases incite a mob scene at a store in Novocherkassk. The desperation of the industrial town’s citizens will not lessen. On the contrary, with a response badly managed by the Regional Committee, tragedy will soon follow after factory workers at the local electromotive plant strike.

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Egor Abramenko chats SPUTNIK, Russian Horror and Scaring Folks – Jeanne Wolf interviews

Sputnik has been called “gripping” and it’s been called “gross” — that’s a compliment. An alien catches a ride to Earth inside the body of a returning cosmonaut. The slimy creature only comes out of the guy at night, and its favorite food is humans, A female doctor gets involved for lots of suspense ans creepy scenes. The director, Egor Abramenko loves horror movies. And, I told him how scared I was.

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SPUTNIK – Review by Leslie Combemale

There is a creepy pall over everything in Sputnik. It has an intentional sparseness and frigidity that might put off viewers were it not for the strong and complex female character at its center. She’s brainy, fearlessness, and compassionate. With Sputnik, you might come for the alien, but you’ll stay for the heroine.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 24, 2020: BEANPOLE

Settings don’t get much bleaker than 1945 Leningrad, decimated after the ravages of WWII, but even the darkest times have moments of intimacy and beauty in Kantemir Balagov’s spare, unflinching Russian drama Beanpole. The film tells the story of the intense, complicated friendship between gangly, awkward Iya — the titular Beanpole — and impulsive, yearning Masha as they struggle to find happiness in a post-war world.

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BEANPOLE – Review by Sheila Roberts

Beanpole is a tough film to watch. It’s powerful, deeply moving, cruel and ferocious, but definitely worth your time. Filmmaker Kantemir Balagov is a brilliant young director who made a bold decision to cast unknown, first-time actresses in extremely demanding roles. His daring choices paid off. Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina elevate this Cannes-winning Russian psychodrama to an Oscar-worthy contender.

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