Russian Cinema Attempt #2

For my second foray into Russian cinema, I watched Dubrovskiy. Apparently it is based on a novel, but I had never read it or heard of it. Once again I found a version with subtitles and went for it.

Just like My Iz Budushchego, the exposition was quite confusing with the jumps between story lines. I felt like parts of the romantic plot were really forced. This made them awkward and borderline creepy.

After a certain point, I forgot to look at the cinematic aspects of the film since I had finally gotten interested in the plot. And then I was severely disappointed. At the end, I resolved to never read this novel as the adults acted like children and Vladimir proved to just be a TERRIBLE person.

I am very interested in watching more, but I feel like it is difficult to find the ones I want to watch, at least with subtitles; which at this point in my Russian study, is still necessary. But I will persevere.

Russian Cinema Attempt #1

Today I tried out Russian cinema for the first time. Still deciding.

My sister introduced me to a movie a while ago that was…well, okay. Having read the book, I was fully expecting the male protagonist to have a Russian accent. He did, but I was curious to see if he was actually of Russian decent or if he was just a good actor. So I turned to my old standby, IMDb, to look him up. I love IMDb. It is such a wealth of information. (and no longer do I have sit there going “Ah! What else is that person in?) But I digress…

Turns out this actor has only ever been in one American Hollywood movie. Everything else he has ever acted in has been Russian. So I decided to check some of it out. I thought he was a good actor and he has won awards for some of his Russian films. So today, I watched My Iz Budushchego. I watched it in Russian with the English subtitles.

So, as far as my one, brief foray into Russian movie watching, I noticed there was not much in the way of an exposition. Within the first seven minutes, there had been two fights I did not fully understand even though I was reading along. I eventually caught up. Kind of.

Once the main problem occurred, I really enjoyed most of the war scenes. Which is saying something since I don’t really like them in any movie. The rising and falling action kept me intrigued and there were even moments of good humor. The denouement – and I use that term loosely – was…weird. Obviously the movie ended but it was after an overly dramatic scene in/at a lake and a strange scene in a square the just felt awkward and I wasn’t really sure how they were supposed to wrap up the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and look forward to trying out some more Russian cinema to get a better view of it. I’ll probably stick to the same main actor though since I don’t really know anything about any other actors or directors in order to look up their stuff.





Penguins in the Morning

I work at a Child Care Center as one of the Head Teachers in the School Age room. As there is no school this week, we are graced with the presence of the children all day. In an attempt to alleviate some of our programming stress, the local library decided to pay us a visit. What a treat it turned out to be.

The librarian began with a little background information. Apparently, in Rochester, throughout the month of April, there is a Children’s Film Festival. All of these films have age-appropriate language and content. One of this year’s award winning films was titled “Lost and Found,” based upon a children’s book of the same name.

The librarian shared Oliver Jeffers’ Lost and Found with the children and then told them to pay close attention. She had brought the film version with her to share. I do not think that the children were fully aware of the opportunity we were getting, but I sure was, as the film cannot be purchased outright.

The film was short, only 24 minutes, but it was very delightful. The librarian pointed out differences that the children may not have noticed and spoke of their meanings. Also, she made sure that the children got the true importance of the story. A penguin and a boy from different sides of the ocean can be friends; it does not matter where you come from, true friendship is what is important.

I hope the children really got that message today and will take it to heart. Just like penguins who arrive at your doorstep in the morning, we oftentimes come into each other’s lives unexpectedly and these impromptu relationships have the wonderful capability of becoming strong and wonderful friendships.