Four Russian movies that will make you love St. Petersburg
Russian movies that capture the beauty and essence of St.Petersburg
No doubt you’ve seen the beautiful city of St. Petersburg show up in many Hollywood movies. Who can forget scenes like Pierce Brosnan’s famous tank chase in Golden Eye (1995) and Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler’s enchanting ice-skating moment in Onegin (1999)? Of course, though, Russian cinema has even more captivating moments that showcase wonderful St. Petersburg. Here are a few of favorite Russian movies of and TV series of Richard that capture the beauty and essence of this special city. And good news – you can find them all on RussianFilmHub.com!
Anna Karenina / Анна Каренина (2017)
There have been so many foreign adaptations of this classic Tolstoy novel. Naturally, some are better than others. My favorite Western adaptation is the 1997 version by Bernard Rose, which was made entirely in Russia. However, for this hallmark of Russian culture, I hope you agree that it’s well worth viewing a Russian-made version of this special Russian tale.
Enter the 2017 Russian TV series, simply named – Anna Karenina. This series is actually an expanded version of the shorter feature film, Anna Karenina: Vronsky’s Story. You could watch both, but I think the extended format of an eight-episode show better fits the novel’s story. And better yet, by watching the TV series, you’ll get more time to enjoy the sites and sounds of glitzy 19th century St. Petersburg high society!
Brother / Брат (1997)
Now for something completely different. Brother – often just called “Brat” in English – is a Russian cult classic. It’s a gritty 1990s crime drama that takes place in dingy, post-Soviet St. Petersburg.
After having finished his national service with the army in Chechnya, a young Danila returns home with nothing much to do. He soon gets in trouble, so his mother implores him to go to St. Petersburg to get help from his older brother. As it turns out, though, his brother works as a hitman. And so, Danila enters the murky gangster underworld of the chaotic Russian 1990s.
This movie is one of the most popular Russian movies at home and abroad. In fact, it also has a sequel – Brat 2 (2000) – which largely takes place in the USA. Both Brat movies are famous for their Russian rock soundtracks. Curious about Russian rock or want to find a song that reminds you of a particular moment in the Brat movies? Check out their soundtracks here: Brat soundtrack, Brat 2 soundtrack. The first movie largely features music from the group, Nautilus Pompilius. Meanwhile, the sequel is a mix of various artists, with the two main ones on show being the pop star, Irina Saltykova, and the rock band, Bi-2.
Agony: The Life and Death of Rasputin / Агоня (1975)
You know who Raputin is, right? He’s that mysterious, infamous Russian monk who some accredit the collapse of the Russian Empire. He’s the one who the pop group, Boney M., refer to as the “lover of the Russian queen.”
Well, there’s a great movie about him – Agony (1975). The film charts Rasputin and the Imperial Russian court’s final days during World War One. It’s really a wonderful watch. Directed by famed Soviet director, Elem Klimov, this film is up there with his two other most famous hits, Come and See (1985) and Welcome, or No Trespassing (1964).
There’s another similar Western movie that’s also worth viewing. HBO created Rasputin (1996) – a stellar adaptation in which Alan Rickman plays Rasputin.
And if you don’t have time for a full movie, why not just then listen to the Boney M. hit.
Crime and Punishment / Преступление и наказание (1969)
It goes without saying, you can’t bring up great art about St. Petersburg without bringing up Dostoevsky. And, in my opinion, the very best Dostoevsky film adaptation is this version of Crime and Punishment created by Lev Kulidzhanov.
This story follows the fate of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished former law student, and the outcome of a murder he commits. This adaptation is remarkably faithful to the original text by Dostoevsky. And so, watching it will be a pure delight to any literary enthusiast.
On top of that, you won’t be able to not think about this film and its plot when you visit St. Petersburg. When you’re away from the majestic palaces and romantic canals, walking through the side streets, you’ll remember this dark and sinister story.
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