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Friday, July 01, 2011

Chtenia 15 and Summer Movies

by Paul E. Richardson
Chtenia 15 and Summer Movies

Earlier, I have written about Mosfilm's release of many classic movies on YouTube. In her introduction to the next issue of Chtenia (coming in July to a mailbox near you!), Tamara Edelman writes several Russian films set in summer, including a Mosfilm classic I Step through Moscow. "Summer," she writes, "is a time for growing up, a time for educating the senses, for better understanding one's self. It is a time of transformation."

Georgi Daneliya's I Step Through Moscow follows a group of young people as they wander the city in summer, encounter all manner of adventure and maintain a hopeful and optimistic disposition. The four protagonists of Rezo Gigineishvili's Heat (Zhara, 2006) are old friends who meet up during a summer heat wave: Liosha has served in the navy, Kostia is spending his father's money, Artur is an actor down on his luck, and Timati--a hip-hop super-star. When it turns out that the cafe where the friends have met up does not accept US dollars and they have to find some rubles, every one has his own idea of how best to do the exchange. Hilarity and love-at-first-sight ensue.

Most recentlyl, for the protagonists of Anatoly Pogrebskyâ's film How I Spent This Summer (2010) it hardly seems like summer, but it is surely a time of transformation and individual self examination. At the 2010 Berlin film festival the film received "silver bears" for the best male lead and outstanding cinematography. The human drama of this film is as elemental as the environment: an isolated island in the North ocean where two men work during the short northern summer.