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|The Rape of Europa
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The Rape of Europa tells the epic story of the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe's art treasures during the Third Reich and the Second World War. In a journey through seven countries, the film takes the audience into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed, and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For twelve long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on a scale unprecedented in history. But young art professionals as well as ordinary heroes, from truck drivers to department store clerks, fought back with an extraordinary effort to safeguard, rescue and return the millions of lost, hidden and stolen treasures.The Rape of Europa begins and ends with the story of artist Gustav Klimt's famed Gold Portrait, stolen from Viennese Jews in 1938 and now the most expensive painting ever sold.Today, more than sixty years later, the legacy of this tragic history continues to play out as families of looted collectors recover major works of art, conservators repair battle damage, and nations fight over the fate of ill-gotten spoils of war. Joan Allen narrates this breathtaking chronicle about the battle over the very survival of centuries of western culture.
|The Miracle Maker - The Story of Jesus
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Brand: Lions Gate
Voices of Ralph Fiennes, William Hurt, Miranda Richardson. A family searching for help for their sickly daughter cross paths with the one man who can help them: a carpenter named Jesus. This inspiring tale of Jesus Christ features 3-D computer animation the whole family will love! 2000/color/87 min/NR.
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Brand: Kino Video
One of Andrei Tarkovsky(Solaris, The Sacrifice) most acclaimed films, Stalker is an unforgettable film experience that evokes the spiritual lucidity of Carl Dreyer and the unbridled imagination of Philip K. Dick. Since its release in 1979, Stalker has inspired filmmakers as diverse as David Lynch and Steven Spielberg and ensnared audiences in a labyrinth of striking imagery revealing the familiar in the strange, the poetic in the disturbing and the mythic in the mordant. In the near future, an unseen alien force has taken possession of an area of Russian wilderness that authorities, have dubbed The Zone. The only thing known for sure about the region is that few who enter it ever return. Led by a Stalker one of a small group of outlaws able to safely navigate the Zone, a renegade scientist and a cynical, burnt out writer penetrate the dangers outside in search of the power and transcendence rumored to exist inside. The Stalker longs to un-do a mysterious physical transformation the Zone has performed on his young daughter. The scientist will risk anything to see that reason triumphs over faith. The writer seeks a germ of inspiration that the crumbling and corrupt world beyond the Zone no longer provides. Together, these three men become desperate pilgrims walking a desolate trail leading to one of the most enigmatic and tantalizing endings in the history of cinema. A haunting and honest meditation on the intersections of science, feeling, and faith.Stalker is both profoundly unsettling and deeply moving.
Challenging, provocative, and ultimately rewarding, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker is a mind-bending experience that defies explanation. Like Tarkovsky's earlier and similarly enigmatic science fiction classic Solaris, this long, slow, meditative masterpiece demands patience and total attention; anyone accustomed to faster pacing is likely to abandon the nearly three-hour film before its first hour is over. On the other hand, those who approach Tarkovsky's work in a properly receptive (and wide awake) frame of mind are likely to appreciate the film's seductive depth of theme and hypnotic imagery. Set in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic future (although the time-frame is never specified), the eerie and unsettling story focuses on the title character, Stalker (Aleksandr Kajdanovsky), who leads characters known only as the Writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn) and the Scientist (or Professor, played by Nikolai Grinko) into a mysterious region called The Zone. Tarkovsky films their journey as a long odyssey, or religious pilgrimage, and center of The Zone--said to be under an alien influence--is where each of these men hopes to find a kind of personal transcendence. Despite obvious parallels to The Wizard of Oz, Tarkovsky's film is devoid of special effects or any fantastical elements typically associated with science fiction or fantasy. Instead, Stalker makes astonishing use of sound and bleak-but-beautiful imagery to envelope the viewer into the eerie atmosphere of The Zone and the dank, colorless landscape that surrounds it. And while the film's glacial pacing may be off-putting to some viewers, there's no denying that Stalker has a mesmerizing power of its own, including a thought-provoking and highly debatable ending that propels the film to a higher level of meaning and significance. --Jeff Shannon
|War and Peace
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Tolstoy's epic masterpiece paints a portrait of Russia and her people, caught up in the irresistible tides of history during the Napoleonic Era.
Like Tolstoy's novel, this epic-length War and Peace is rough going, but worth the effort. Winner of the 1969 Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film and widely considered the most faithful adaptation of Tolstoy's classic, Sergei Bondarchuk's massive Soviet-Italian coproduction was seven years in the making, at a record-setting cost of $100 million. Bondarchuk himself plays the central role of Pierre Bezukhov, buffeted by fate during Russia's tumultuous Napoleonic Wars, serving as pawn and philosopher through some of the most astonishing set pieces ever filmed. Bondarchuk is a problematic director: interior monologues provide awkward counterpoint to intimate dramas, weaving together the many classes and characters whose lives are permanently affected by war. Infusions of '60s-styled imagery clash with the film's period detail; it's an anomalous experiment that doesn't really work. Undeniably, however, the epic battle scenes remain breathtakingly unique; to experience the sheer scale of this film is to realize that such cinematic extravagance will never be seen again. --Jeff Shannon
- ISBN: 0-7697-1339-4
- Running Time: 403 minutes
- Sound: Dolby 2.0
- Feature Film
|Eisenstein: The Sound Years (Ivan the Terrible Parts 1 & 2 / Alexander Nevsky) (The Criterion Collection)
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Sergei Eisenstein, long regarded as a pioneer of film art, changed cinematic strategies halfway through his career. Upon returning from Hollywood and Mexico in the late 1930s, he left behind the densely edited style of celebrated silents like Battleship Potemkin and October, turning instead to historical sources, contradictory audiovisuals, and theatrical sets for his grandiose yet subversive sound-era work. This trio of rousing action epics reveals a deeply unsettling portrait of the Soviet Union under Stalin, and provided battle-scene blueprints for filmmaking giants from Laurence Olivier in Henry V to Akira Kurosawa in Seven Samurai.
A biography of the first czar of Russia was the final movie project of the great Sergei Eisenstein's life. It would be his undoing, as Stalin was not pleased with part II of this epic. But Ivan the Terrible, Part I still stands as a magnificent, rich, and strange achievement. This is a "composed" film to make Hitchcock look slapdash; every frame is arranged with the eye of a painter or choreographer, the mise-en-scène so deliberately artificial that even the actors' bodies become elements of style. (They complained about contorting themselves to fit Eisenstein's designs.) If you don't believe movies can be art, this could be (and has been) dismissed as ludicrous. But Eisenstein's command of light and shadow becomes its own justification, as the fascinating court intrigue plays out in a series of dynamic, eye-filling scenes. This is not a political theorist, but a director drunk on pure cinema.
Part II continues with the struggle for power and the use of secret police, a controversial segment that caused the film to be banned by Stalin in 1946 (the film was not released until 1958). The predominantly black-and-white film features a banquet dance sequence in color. Obviously the two parts must be viewed as a whole to be fully appreciated. Many film historians consider this period in Eisenstein's career less interesting than his silent period because of a sentimental return to archaic forms (characteristic of Soviet society in the '30s and '40s). Perhaps it was just part of his maturity.
Alexander Nevsky (1939), Eisenstein's landmark tale of Russia thwarting the German invasion of the 13th century, was wildly popular and quite intentional, given the prevailing Nazi geopolitical advancement and destruction at the time. It can still be viewed as a masterful use of imagery and music, with the Battle on the Ice sequence as the obvious highlight. Unfortunately, the rest of the film pales in comparison. A great score by Prokofiev was effectively integrated by the Russian filmmaker, but stands on its own merit as well.
|Come & See
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Brand: Kino International
When young Florya willingly joins a group of Partisans fighting the Nazis in Byelorussia, U.S.S.R., he little suspects that he is plunging through the looking glass. Separated from his comrades during a paratroop attack and struck deaf by German artillery, Florya - in the company of Glascha, a beguiling peasant girl - wanders a battle-scorched Russian purgatory of prehistoric forests and man-made slaughter. Florya's journey takes him and us through a gallery of exquisitely poetic imagery and brutal human atrocity.
- COME AND SEE IDI I SMOTRI (DVD MOVIE)
|Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan
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Brand: NEW LINE
History knows him as Genghis Khan, but before he became a warlord, he was simply a man named Temudgin. Exiled into slavery as a boy and forced into a life of struggle after his father is killed by a rival clan, the greatest military mastermind of all time survived on the strength of a single dream: to unite his people into the largest empire the world has ever known. Asano Tadanobu portrays Temudgin in director Sergei Bodrov's sweeping, Academy Award nominated epic full of breathtaking landscapes and bloody battles that follows the Mongol warrior as he escapes the shackles of bondage, finds love and rises to become the general who would create history's most powerful empire.
First entry in a proposed trilogy, Mongol vividly captures the beauty and brutality of ancient Mongolia. Beginning in 1172 and ending in 1206, Sergei Bodrov's Oscar-nominated epic presents future conqueror Ghengis Khan as more lover--and fighter--than diplomat. Against his father Esegui's wishes, nine-year-old Temudjin chooses his own bride, whom he marries in the years to come. Hopes for the future, however, turns to thoughts of vengeance when the clan forsakes the boy upon Esegui's death. While Temudjin (now played by Zatoichi’s Tadanobu Asano, a quietly commanding presence) makes his way in a cruel world, turncoat Targutai (Amadu Mamadakov) becomes the new khan. When an opposing clan kidnaps Temudjin’s wife, Börte (Khulan Chuluun), he eventually retrieves her, but betrays blood brother Jamukha (Sun Honglei, Seven Swords) in the process, leading to further enslavement and more Kurasawa-style slicing and dicing. Throughout his travails, Temudjin comes to believe that Mongols must unite to share the same language, culture, and set of values. Sustained by his faith in the god Tengri and the devotion of Börte, Temudjin sets out to wrest control of Mongolia from Jamukha and his women and children-killing hordes. Except for an over-reliance on CGI during the climactic battle sequence, Mongol equals the scope and grandeur of historical predecessors, like Braveheart and Hero. If much of the cast is Chinese and Japanese, Bodrov, who directed Prisoner of the Mountains, conjures up authenticity through detailed costumes, Mongolian dialogue, and remote Central Asian locations. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- History knows him as Genghis Khan, but before he became a warlord, he was simply a man named Temudgin. Exiled into slavery as a boy and forced into a life of struggle after his father is killed by a rival clan, the greatest military mastermind of all time survived on the strength of a single dream: to unite his people into the largest empire the world has ever known. Asano Tadanobu portrays Temudg
|Siberiade (Complete and Uncut Version)
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Brand: Kino International
Spanning more than six decades of Russian history encompassing the Bolshevik Revolution, Siberiade is Andrei Konchalovsky's (Runaway Train) passionate and ambitious examination of the Soviet spirit, as represented in two families of opposing ideologies: the proletariat Ustyuzhanins and the wealthy Solomins. Through their multi-generational conflicts and alliances, Konchalovsky dramatizes the evolution of the Russian people, bound together by the common struggle for survival and faithfulness to the motherland. Yet Siberiade is more than an immense historical epic. It is a hauntingly beautiful spectacle reminiscent of the finest woks of visionary filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (whose Andrei Roublev was co-written by Konchalovsky). Though cinematographer Levan Paatashvili's lens, the Siberian wilderness becomes a mesmerizing universe unto itself, whose forests and swamps are populated by near-mythical characters. Tied to ancient tradition, these spirits seek to protect the countryside from the ravaging forces of time and technology. When a rural village is invaded by an oil-drilling crew that encroaches upon their hallowed burial grounds, generating conflict between ancestral reverence for the earth and government-ordained industrialization. Siberiade comes to an explosive and unforgettable climax.
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As the Nazis prepare to pull out of Finland, a young Finnish conscript is left chained to a rock in Lapland, instructed to kill as many Russian soldiers as he can before he dies. Freeing himself, he makes his way to a farm where a widowed Lapp woman is nursing an injured Russian officer back to health. Despite the lack of a common language between any of them, the two men form an uneasy trust for each other and a strong shared attraction for their unlikely caregiver. Ville Haapasalo, Anni-Christina Juuso, Viktor Bychkov star. 103 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: Russian, Finnish and Lapp Dolby Digital 5.1; Subtitles: English. NOTE: This Title Is Out Of Print; Limit One Per Customer.
|Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears
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Brand: Kino International
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (edging out such formidable competitors as Kurosawa's Kagemusha, Truffaut's The Last Metro and Szabo's Confidence), Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears is Vladimir Menshov's enchanting drama of three women struggling to establish themselves in Russia's huge and often impersonal capital city. Liudmilla, Katerina and Antonina seem to have little in common, but are bound by a deep friendship and the shared dream that in Moscow they will somehow find happiness. Moscow follows their resourceful pursuit of professional and domestic bliss in 1958, then skips foward twenty years to see just how many of their dreams have come true. On one level Moscow works as a free-spirited melodrama in the classic Hollywood tradition, yet at the same time it offers something more. Beneath its charming exterior, the film is a truthful, moving portrait of the plight of women in Russia, depicted over the span of two decades.
- MOSKVA SLEZAM NE VERIT (DVD MOVIE)
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