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Mosfilm Uploads Celluloid Classics to YouTube

Every week, the studio will upload five new films, and expects to have 200 by the end of the year.

Published: May 4, 2011 (Issue # 1654)



  • Yevgeny Leonov starring in the Soviet classic Gentlemen of Fortune, released in 1971 one of the first films to be uploaded onto YouTube by Mosfilm.
    Photo:

  • The 1970 film The White Sun of the Desert is an adventure story that is always watched by cosmonauts before a launch.
    Photo:

MOSCOW Russian film lovers can explore a treasure trove of Soviet films as legendary movie studio Mosfilm has posted dozens of its most famous films on YouTube for anyone to watch for free.

The films, legendary for many Russians but often little known in the West, include the comedies of Georgian-Russian director Georgi Daneliya, Gentlemen of Fortune and Mimino; The White Sun Of The Desert, a much-loved adventure story set in Central Asia that is always watched by cosmonauts before a space launch; and classic melodramas such as Eldar Ryazanovs A Cruel Romance with Nikita Mikhalkov and A Railway Station for Two starring the late Lyudmila Gurchenko.

Every week, the studio will upload five new films onto the channel, the studio said in an official press release, and expects to have 200 by the end of the year.

Other films uploaded include Andrei Rublev and The Mirror, two works by one of Russias greatest art-house directors, Andrei Tarkovsky.

For us, the YouTube project is very important and interesting, Karen Shakhnazarov, director of Mosfilm, said in a statement on the studios web site.

The aim is to give users the possibility to legally watch high-quality video material and prevent the illegal use of our films, he said.

The studio has worked with YouTube to remove pirated versions of their films uploaded onto the site.

Most of the films will be uploaded with subtitles in different languages so people from different countries can watch Mosfilm pictures, Shakhnazarov said.

At the moment, nearly all the films are up with subtitles in English, with only a couple found without any. The 1991 film Tsareubiista, or Assassin of the Tsar, starring English actor Malcolm McDowell as an insane asylum patient who claims to have killed the Tsar and Oleg Yankovsky as a doctor, is up in both English and Russian versions.

The channel has had more than 170,000 views since it started last week, and as of Monday, almost all of the films had more than 1,000 views. A few films see noticeable drops in viewing when the film is in two parts. Tarkovskys critically acclaimed 3-hour, 25-minute film about the great 15th-century icon painter Andrei Rublev saw 2,156 views of its first part and only 414 of the second part.

The most popular film so far is Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession, a 1973 comedy starring acclaimed actor Yury Yakovlev that sold 60 million tickets when in Soviet cinemas and has had more than 15,000 views on YouTube already.

The channel is already in the top 50 of Russian channels on YouTube.

Mosfilm already screens 582 of its films on its web sites for free and with subtitles in different languages, and for a small payment viewers can download the films, but the YouTube channel is a far more accessible and speedy variant.

Mosfilm acquired its present name in 1935 but the studio began working in the 1920s after the Bolsheviks nationalized film production.

The studios symbol, the Worker and Collective Farm Worker statue, is shown at the start of each film and is as well-known in Russia as the fanfare and searchlight of 20th Century Fox films.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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