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Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Must See Films, Must Read Fiction
by Paul E. Richardson
In our 100th issue, we have a long feature, "100 Things Everyone Should Know About Russia," with loads of factoids, notes, lists and essays. We figured our list of the "must read" fiction and "must see" movies would be a bit contentious (and certainly foreshortened). So we are posting the lists here for reader comment and supplementation...
10 Must Read Novels
Everyone knows Lev Tolstoy's War and Peace and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. But here are ten lesser-known works of Russian fiction that are essential (not listed in any order of precedence).
A Hero for Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov
Yevgeny Onegin, Alexander Pushkin
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
The Zone, Sergei Dovlatov
Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
House on the Embankment, Yuri Trifonov
The Twelve Chairs, Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov
Moscow to the End of the Line, Venedikt Erofeyev
10 Essential Short Stories
Heart of a Dog, Mikhail Bulgakov
Hadji Murat, Lev Tolstoy
The Overcoat, Nikolai Gogol
Envy, Yuri Olesha
Gooseberries, Anton Chekhov
The Elagin Affair, Ivan Bunin
The Nose, Nikolai Gogol
Life with an Idiot, Viktor Erofeyev
Sonechka, Lyudmila Ulitskaya
The Tale of Cross-eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea, Nikolai Leskov
 Technically, these are novellas, or povesti, but we classified them as we thought of them.
 Yes, this was written in English, but we felt it essential to have a Nabokov contribution on the list.
20 Must See Films
There are hundreds of excellent Russian films that are invaluable for understanding Russia, for picking up on important cultural knowledge. Every film lover will have their own list. These are 20 that we feel every Russophile should see. The choice is limited to films that are available with English language subtitles.
Aelita, by Iakov Protazanov (1924)
Battleship Potemkin, by Sergei Eisenstein (1925)
The Circus, by Grigory Alexandrov (1936)
The Fall of Berlin, by Mikhail Chiaureli (1949)
The Cranes are Flying, by Mikhail Kalatozov (1957)
Andrei Rublyov, by Andrei Tarkovsky (1966)
Diamond Arm, by Leonid Gaidai (1968)
White Sun of the Desert, by Vladimir Motyl (1970)
Belorussky Train Station, by Andrei Smirnov (1970)
Gentlemen of Fortune, by Alexander Sery (1972)
17 Moments of Spring, by Tatyana Lyuznova (1973)
Irony of Fate, by Eldar Ryazanov (1975)
Slave of Love, by Nikita Mikhalkov (1976)
Mimino, by Georgi Daneliya (1977)
The Assent, by Larissa Shepitko (1977)
An Ordinary Miracle, by Mark Zakharov (1978)
>Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, by Vladimir Menshov (1980)