Review: Russian films/Russian literature

“Do you still feel connected to life on Earth?”
“Your question is banal!”

Coming straight from watching Tarkovsky’s sci-fi masterpiece*/interminable drivel** Solaris at the fascist NFT (no popcorn, no ads, no trailers, people who sit through the entire credits), I can confirm once and for all that Russians are pleasantly mental. Does Vladimir want a cup of tea? No he does not, for his very soul is on fire. Could Svetlana quickly pop to the shops for a bag of flour? Don’t be ridiculous: she’s upstairs finishing an epic poem on the subject of religious war.

Any country that has cornered the market on novels, suffering and vodka shots is all right by me. Imagine another version of history, in which Hollywood had somehow sprung up in Moscow instead of LA. Your local Odeon would offer a Sunday night choice between a road movie (an alcoholic philosopher travels across an endless autumnal wasteland in search a series of doppelgangers of his late mother: 175 minutes), and a sci-fi blockbuster (a coruscating analysis of the destructive power of greed set in a dystopian future populated by silent women in heavy eye make-up: 234 minutes).

Tolstoy, widely considered highbrow, was in fact writing the 19th century Russian equivalent of the WHSmith bonkbuster. Had they had the technology, his name would have been embossed in gold on the covers of his books. If, in the process, he touches on the nature of love and the meaning of existence, it just goes to show the level of effortless profundity that your average famous Russian novelist can reach. Dan Brown has much to learn.

Russian poet Anna Akhmatova famously (bear with me) wrote Requiem after a conversation at the gates of Leningrad prison, where her son was incarcerated. A woman recognised her and asked her, “Can you describe this?” Leaving aside the historical context, OK, because I’m not qualified to comment, can you imagine anywhere else where someone would (a) recognise a poet in the street, and (b) care? No you cannot. That’s why Russians are ace.

*Ingmar Bergman, director

**Geoff Andrew, critic

Russian films/literature: All happy countries are alike; each unhappy country is unhappy in its own way. 9 out of 10.


At 7:55 pm, Blogger HA HA HA said...

bah. al rusian literatur is borign in teh same way.

At 10:17 am, Anonymous eskimo said...

i would disagree, but you're the only person who's commented on my blog for several days, so i'm going to slavishly agree with everything you say.

At 3:33 pm, Anonymous NagaQueen said...

Tolstoy rocks!
Russia Rocks!
The KGB...umm...great guys..he he he...really...I was just having a laugh...

At 5:08 pm, Blogger Fizzy good said...

I quite agree. Good old USSR (you don't know how lucky you are, etc.)

At 4:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first bilingual English-Russian edition of The Secret Journal
It is intended not only for scholars of Russian language and literature, but also for English-speakers studying Russian, as well as Russian-speakers studying English. In the Russian text stressed syllables are indicated to facilitate reading.
The hero of the work, Alexander Pushkin, presents in an encapsulated form his various sexual relations, his complex thoughts on life, the nature of sin, love, and creativity, as well as the complicated path that led him to his tragic end.
The Secret Journal has incited and continues to incite the most contradictory responses.
Now translated into 24 languages, The Secret Journal deserves to be placed among the most scandalous works of Russian erotic literature.
This edition is in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the first publication of the Secret Journal in 1986.

A. S. Pushkin Secret Journal 1836-1837 / Tainiye Zapiski, 1836-1837 A. S. Pushkina: Bilingual Edition, English-Russian (Hardcover): Retro Publishing, MA, 2006; 384 p.
USA - ISBN 0-9773864-0-6
Russia - ISBN 5-94855-042-7

At 4:16 pm, Anonymous Nursing Home Furniture said...

Very interesting

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