|Cinema of Russia|
|No. of screens||4,372 (2016)|
|• Per capita||2.1 per 100,000 (2011)|
|Main distributors||United Pictures (27.7%)|
The Walt Disney Company (24.4%; as of 2021)
|Produced feature films (2016)|
|Number of admissions (2016)|
|• Per capita||1.2 (2012)|
|National films||32,100,000 (16.8%)|
|Gross box office (2016)|
The cinema of Russia began in the Russian Empire, widely developed in the Soviet Union and in the years following its dissolution, the Russian film industry would remain internationally recognized. In the 21st century, Russian cinema has become known internationally with films such as Hardcore Henry (2015), Leviathan (2014), Night Watch (2004) and Brother (1997). The Moscow International Film Festival began in Moscow in 1935. The Nika Award is the main annual national film award in Russia.
Main article: Cinema of the Russian Empire
The first films seen in the Russian Empire were brought in by the Lumière brothers, who exhibited films in Moscow and St. Petersburg in May 1896. That same month, Lumière cameraman Camille Cerf made the first film in Russia, recording the coronation of Nicholas II at the Kremlin.
Aleksandr Drankov produced the first Russian narrative film Stenka Razin (1908), based on events told in a folk song and directed by Vladimir Romashkov. Among the notable Russian filmmakers of the era were Aleksandr Khanzhonkov and Ivan Mozzhukhin, who made Defence of Sevastopol in 1912. Yakov Protazanov made Departure of a Grand Old Man (1912), a biographical film about Lev Tolstoy.
Animation pioneer Ladislas Starevich made the first Russian animated film (and the first stop motion puppet film with a story) in 1910 – Lucanus Cervus. His other stop-motion shorts The Beautiful Leukanida (1912) and The Cameraman's Revenge (1912), produced for Aleksandr Khanzhonkov, are also among the first animated films. In the following years, Starevich made shorts based on fables such as The Grasshopper and the Ant (1913), as well as World War I propaganda films.
Olga Preobrazhenskaya was the first woman director of Russia. In 1916 she made her directorial debut Miss Peasant. However, the film has been lost. In the Soviet era she directed Women of Ryazan (1927).
During World War I, imports dropped drastically, and Russian filmmakers turned out anti-German, nationalistic films. In 1916, 499 films were made in Russia, more than three times the number of three years earlier.
Before the October Revolution, Russia did not have a highly developed film industry due to the general populace being too poor to support a native industry. The Russian Revolution brought more change, with a number of films with anti-Tsarist themes. The last significant film of the era, made in 1917, was Father Sergius by Yakov Protazanov and Alexandre Volkoff. It would become the first new film release of the Soviet era.
Main article: Cinema of the Soviet Union
Vladimir Lenin was the first political leader of the twentieth century to recognize the importance of film. He saw film as a way to unite the nation over which the Bolsheviks, then a minority party of some 200,000 members, had assumed leadership.
The cinema is for us the most important of the arts.— Vladimir Lenin
His government gave top priority to the rapid development of the Soviet film industry, which was nationalized in August 1919 and put under the direct authority of Lenin's wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya.
One of the first acts of the Cinema Committee was to create a professional film school in Moscow to train directors, technicians, and actors for the cinema. The All Union State Institute of Cinematography was the first such school in the world. Lev Kuleshov, who taught at the school, formulated the groundbreaking editing process called montage, which he conceived of as an expressive process whereby dissimilar images could be linked together to create non-literal or symbolic meaning. His work has been referred to as the Kuleshov effect. Two of Kuleshov's most famous students were Sergey Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin.
Although Russian was the dominant language in films during the Soviet era, the cinema of the Soviet Union encompassed films of the Armenian SSR, Georgian SSR, Ukrainian SSR, and, to a lesser degree, Lithuanian SSR, Belorussian SSR, and Moldavian SSR. For much of the Soviet Union's history, with notable exceptions in the 1920s and the late 1980s, film content was heavily circumscribed and subject to censorship and bureaucratic state control.
The development of the soviet film industry was innovative and linked with the Constructivist art movement. In 1922–3, Kino-Fot became the first Soviet cinema magazine and reflected the constructivist views of its editor, Aleksei Gan.
As with much Soviet art during the 1920s, films addressed major social and political events of the time. An important film of this period was Sergei Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin, not only because of its depiction of events leading up to the 1905 Revolution, but also because of innovative cinematic techniques, such as the use of jump-cuts to achieve political ends. To this day, Battleship Potemkin is considered one of the greatest films of all time.
Vsevolod Pudovkin developed a new theory of montage based on cognitive linkage rather than dialectical collision. Pudovkin's Mother (1926) was internationally acclaimed for its montage, as well as for its emotional qualities. Later Pudovkin was publicly charged with formalism for his experimental sound film A Simple Case (1932), which he was forced to release without its sound track.
The film is not shot, but built, built up from the separate strips of celluloid that are its raw material.— Vsevolod Pudovkin
Two other key filmmakers of the Soviet silent era were Aleksandr Dovzhenko and Dziga Vertov. Dovzhenko's best known work is his Ukraine Trilogy, and more specifically the film Earth (1930). Vertov is well known for his film Man with a Movie Camera (1929) and the Kino-Eye theory - that the camera, like the human eye, is best used to explore real life, which had a huge impact on documentary filmmaking.
However, with the consolidation of Stalinist power in the Soviet Union, and the emergence of Socialist realism as state policy, which carried over from painting and sculpture into filmmaking, Soviet film became subject to almost total state control.
Films released in the 1930s include the popular musicals Jolly Fellows (1934), Circus (1936) and Volga-Volga (1938) directed by the longtime collaborator of Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov. These films starred leading actress of the time Lyubov Orlova, who was also Aleksandrov's wife.
The New Gulliver (1935) by Aleksandr Ptushko is a landmark in stop-motion animation.
In the 1930s and the 1940s Eisenstein directed two historical epics – Aleksandr Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1944). Both films were scored by composer Sergei Prokofiev.
Immediately after the end of the Second World War, the Soviet color films such as The Stone Flower (1947) by Aleksandr Ptushko, Ballad of Siberia (1947), and Cossacks of the Kuban (1949), both by director Ivan Pyryev, were released.
Soviet cinema went into rapid decline after the World War II: film production fell from 19 features in 1945 to 5 in 1952. The situation did not improve until the late 1950s when Soviet films achieved critical success partly as a result, similar to the cinema of other Eastern Bloc countries, for reflecting the tension between independent creativity and state-directed outcomes.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s Soviet film-makers were given a less constricted environment, and while censorship remained, films emerged which began to be recognised outside the Soviet bloc such as Ballad of a Soldier by Grigory Chukhray which won the 1961 BAFTA Award for Best Film and the 1958 Palme d'Or winning The Cranes Are Flying by Mikhail Kalatozov. The Height (1957) by Aleksander Zarkhi is considered to be one of the best films of the 1950s (it also became the foundation of the Bard movement). Yet, some films did not receive a wide release; The Story of Asya Klyachina (1966) by Andrei Konchalovsky, Commissar (1967) by Aleksandr Askoldov, Brief Encounters (1967) by Kira Muratova and Trial on the Road (1971) by Aleksei German.
The most critically acclaimed Russian director of the 1960s and 1970s was Andrei Tarkovsky, who directed the groundbreaking art-house films Ivan's Childhood, Andrei Rublev, Solaris, Mirror and Stalker. His films won awards at Cannes and Venice Film Festival. His debut film Ivan's Childhood won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1962. Tarkovsky's film Andrei Rublev (1966) won the FIPRESCI prize at the 1969 Cannes Festival. For Stalker (1979), Tarkovsky won the Ecumenical Jury Prize in Cannes in 1980. He also won the Special Grand Prize for Solaris in 1972 and for Sacrifice at Cannes in 1986.
Other notable Soviet directors include Sergei Bondarchuk, Sergey Paradzhanov, Larisa Shepitko, Kira Muratova, Marlen Khutsiev, Mikhail Kalatozov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Vladimir Menshov and Gleb Panfilov.
The Seventh Companion (1967) marked the debut of film director Aleksei German. Due to Soviet censorship, his film Trial on the Road (1971) was shelved for 15 years. His son Aleksei is also a director.
Sergei Bondarchuk initially came to prominence as an actor. His directorial debut was Fate of a Man which was released in 1959. Bondarchuk is best known for directing and starring in the Academy Award-winning adaptation War and Peace (1967). His son Fyodor Bondarchuk is also a film director and producer.
Among other critically acclaimed literary adaptations from the 1960s was Grigory Kozintsev's Hamlet (1964), winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival.
Russian actor Nikita Mikhalkov had his feature directorial debut in 1974 with At Home Among Strangers. His brother, Andrey Konchalovsky, is also an award-winning director. Konchalovsky had his directorial debut with The First Teacher in 1965, which won an award at the Venice Film Festival (Best Actress - Natalya Arinbasarova).
Film director Kira Muratova faced censorship during the Soviet era and only started to receive public recognition and first awards during Perestroyka. Her film Among Grey Stones (1983) was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.
Comedy genre was always the most popular one in Russia and the Soviet union with the highest number of box-office successes. Most popular Soviet comedies of the era were directed by Leonid Gaidai, Eldar Ryazanov and Georgiy Daneliya, such as Carnival Night (1956), The Irony of Fate (1976), Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967), Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures (1965), The Twelve Chairs (1976), Walking the Streets of Moscow (1964), Gentlemen of Fortune (1971).
Soviet filmmakers also produced historical adventure films, such as D'Artagnan and Three Musketeers (1978) and Gardes-Marines, Ahead! (1988). Among those, "osterns", the Soviet take on the westerns, became also popular. Examples of the Ostern include White Sun of the Desert (1970), The Headless Horseman (1972), Armed and Dangerous (1977), A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (1987). On TV, mystery and spy miniseries were prevalent, such as Seventeen Moments of Spring, The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed, Investigation Held by ZnaToKi and a faithful adaptation of Sherlock Holmes stories starring Vasily Livanov as Holmes.
A respective amount of World War II dramas made in the 1970s and the 1980s were acclaimed internationally, some of which are Liberation (1971) by Yuri Ozerov, The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972) by Stanislav Rostotsky, They Fought for Their Country (1975) by Sergei Bondarchuk, The Ascent (1977) by Larisa Shepitko and Come and See (1985) by Elem Klimov.
Co-production between Soviet Union and Japan, Dersu Uzala, adapted from Vladimir Arsenyev's book, directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Maxim Munzuk and Yuri Solomin, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Picture in 1976. The film was a box-office success and ended up reviving Kurosawa's career.
Yuri Norstein is perhaps the most famous Russian animator of the Soviet period; his animated shorts Hedgehog in the Fog and Tale of Tales gained worldwide recognition and have served as inspiration for many filmmakers.
Larisa Shepitko's film The Ascent was the first Soviet movie to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1977.
Romantic drama Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears by Vladimir Menshov won the Best Foreign Picture award at the 1981 Academy Awards and it was very popular at the Soviet box-office with over 93 million viewers.
Come and See by Elem Klimov received the FIPRESCI prize at the 1985 Moscow Film Festival.
Science fiction film Dead Man's Letters (1986), directorial debut of Konstantin Lopushansky, was screened at the International Critics' Week section of the Cannes Film Festival in 1987 and received the FIPRESCI prize at the 35th International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg. His follow-up film A Visitor to a Museum (1989) was entered into the Moscow Film Festival where it won the Silver St. George and the Prix of Ecumenical Jury.
In the 1980s Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky was the first filmmaker to find success in Hollywood. In America he directed Maria's Lovers (1984), Runaway Train (1985) and Tango & Cash (1989).
With the onset of Perestroika and Glasnost in the mid-1980s, Soviet films emerged which began to address formerly censored topics, such as drug addiction, The Needle (1988) by Rashid Nugmanov, which starred rock singer Viktor Tsoi, and sexuality and alienation in Soviet society, Little Vera (1988) by Vasili Pichul. However, the industry suffered from drastically reduced state subsidies and the state-controlled film distribution system also collapsed, leading to the dominance of western films in Russia's theatres.
Several Soviet films have received Oscars; War and Peace, Dersu Uzala, Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears.
In the 1990s there were much fewer films being made as the cinema industry was experiencing big changes and the economy was uncertain. From 300 in 1990 the number fell to 213 in 1991, 172 in 1992, 152 in 1993, to 68 in 1994, 46 in 1995 and 28 in 1996.
In 1990 censorship was abolished on an official level: the state could no longer interfere in the production and distribution of films, except in cases of war propaganda, disclosure of state secrets, and pornography. As part of the abolition of all central Soviet administrative units, the Cinema Committee of the USSR was dissolved in 1991.
Russian cinema of the 90s acquired new features and themes, with the Chechen war also affecting filmmakers. Many films of that time dealt with war and Stalinism.
Kinotavr was first held in 1990 in Podolsk, and then in 1991 in Sochi, where it has been held ever since. The Nika Award, which is distributed by the Russian Film Academy, was founded in 1998.
The Asthenic Syndrome is a 1989 drama film directed by Kira Muratova. The film was entered into the 40th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear - Special Jury Prize.
Freeze Die Come to Life is 1989 drama film directed by Vitali Kanevsky. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Caméra d'Or. Another Kanevsky's film, An Independent Life, win the Jury Prize, the third most prestigious award of the event, at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival and also nominated for the Golden Bear at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival.
In 1990 Pavel Lungin won the Best Director Award for Taxi Blues, which starred rock musician Pyotr Mamonov in the lead role, at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival . Another Lungin films, Luna Park and Tsar, also screened at 1992 Cannes Film Festival and 2009 Cannes Film Festival in competition and Un Certain Regard section respectively.
The Guard is a 1990 drama film directed by Aleksandr Rogozhkin. It was entered into the 40th Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Alfred Bauer Prize.
Satan is a 1991 thriller film directed by Viktor Aristov. It was entered into the 41st Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear - Special Jury Prize.
Nikita Mikhalkov won the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice International Film Festival for Close to Eden and European Film Award for Best Film in 1991 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.
The Chekist directed by Aleksandr Rogozhkin was a drama set in the period of Red Terror and told the story of a Cheka leader who gradually becomes unhinged. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.
Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov won a Silver Lion at the 50th Venice International Film Festival for his film Kosh ba kosh.
The drama Burnt by the Sun (1994) by Nikita Mikhalkov is set in a small countryside community in the time when Stalinism starts to disrupt their idyllic retreat and alter their characters and fates. The film received an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Grand Prix du Jury at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The sequel, Burnt by the Sun 2: Exodus was entered in the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Another sequel, Burnt by the Sun 3: The Citadel, released on May 5, 2011.
Assia and the Hen with the Golden Eggs by Andrei Konchalovsky is a satirical sequel to Konchalovsky's 1966 Soviet film, The Story of Asya Klyachina, taking the characters of the original and placing them in a post-Soviet context. This film was entered into the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1996 Sergey Bodrov was screened the war drama film Prisoner of the Mountains based on the 1872 Caucasian War-era short story "The Prisoner in the Caucasus" by the classic Russian writer Leo Tolstoy on 1996 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and won a Crystal Globe. Latef film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Russia) and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Russia).
In the context of the Russian World War II history Pavel Chukhrai filmed The Thief (1997), a movie about a mother who becomes romantically involved with a criminal who impersonates an officer. The film was awarded with 6 national prizes Nika, got a special prize in 54th Venice International Film Festival and was nominated on European Film Award for Best Film, Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film .
One of the first commercially successful post-Soviet films was the crime drama Brother directed by Aleksei Balabanov. It was screened as part of the Un Certain Regard section at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. He also directed the sequel Brother 2 in 2000.
Valery Todorovsky's The Country of the Deaf (1998), a comedy film based on the screenplay by Renata Litvinova parodied Russia of the 90s. It described the journey of two female friends caught in the fight of two clans – the deaf and the hearing. It was entered in the 48th Berlin International Film Festival.
In 1997 Aleksandr Sokurov had his international breakthrough with the arthouse drama Mother and Son, the first part of family relationships dilogy. It won the Special Silver St. George at the 20th Moscow International Film Festival in 1997. The second part, Father and Son, Russian drama film that was entered into feature film competition at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
1998 film Khrustalyov, My Car! directed by Aleksei German described the last days of Stalinist Russia. It was entered in the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
Nikita Mikhalkov's international co-production The Barber of Siberia was screened out of competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. The film featured English and Russian actors. It was the first post-Soviet big budget feature film; the film cost 35 million dollars.
Moloch, the first part of tetrology of power directed by Alexander Sokurov portrays Adolf Hitler living life in an unassuming manner during an abrupt journey to the Bavarian Alps, was entered into the 1999 Cannes Film Festival and won the Best Screenplay Award. The second part portraying Vladimir Lenin, Taurus, was entered into the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. The third part The Sun depicting Japanese Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) during the final days of World War II, was entered in the 55th Berlin International Film Festival.
Internationally co-produced film East/West (1999) starring Sandrine Bonnaire and Catherine Deneuve told the story of an emigre family living in Stalinist USSR. The film was nominated as Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, National Board of Review, and received four nominations at the César Awards.
The satiric melodrama of Dmitry Meskhiev, Women's Property (1999) describes a love affair between a young student and an older actress who is incurably ill. Her death leads the protagonist to face bitter loneliness. The film starred Yelena Safonova and featured actor Konstantin Khabensky in an early lead role.
Cult crime comedy 8 ½ $ (1999), directorial debut of Grigori Konstantinopolsky, starring Ivan Okhlobystin and Fyodor Bondarchuk was a satiric take on 1990s Russia. It told the story of a television advertisement director who becomes romantically involved with a gangster's girlfriend.
Svetlana Baskova directed the low-budget independently made exploitation shock-horror film The Green Elephant in 1999. Baskova noted that the film was conceived as a protest against the Chechen war. In 2022 the film has been banned in Russia.
The film His Wife's Diary (2000) by Aleksei Uchitel won awards at both Kinotavr and Nika Award. The biographical film was about the last love affair of writer Ivan Bunin. Uchitel's 2005 film Dreaming of Space won the Golden George at the 27th Moscow International Film Festival.
Roman Kachanov directed the absurdist comedies Demobbed (2000) and Down House (2001), which were both co-written with actor Ivan Okhlobystin who also starred in the films. Both are considered to be cult films in Russia. FIPRESCI awarded a special mention to the film Demobbed at the 2000 Kinotavr.
The Romanovs: An Imperial Family is a 2000 Russian historical drama film about the last days of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. The film premiered at the 22nd annual Moscow Film Festival.
The Cuckoo by Aleksandr Rogozhkin won multiple awards at the 24th Moscow International Film Festival. The WWII set film starred Finnish actor Ville Haapasalo as a stranded Finnish sniper.
House of Fools is a 2002 Russian film by Andrei Konchalovsky about psychiatric patients and combatants during the First Chechen War. The film was screened in the competition at the 59th Venice International Film Festival and won Grand Special Jury Prize and UNICEF Award.
Egor Konchalovsky directed Antikiller (2002) starring Gosha Kutsenko as a police officer turned vigilante proved to be a success among Russian audiences.
In 2002 Pavel Lungin directed the film Tycoon about a Russian oligarch. Vladimir Mashkov played the Boris Berezovsky inspired lead character.
2002 comedy-drama film In Motion was the directorial debut of Filipp Yankovsky.
Feature film debut by Aleksei German Jr. The Last Train (2003) won the Best Picture and International Film Critics' Awards at Thessaloniki. His second film, Garpastum, was screened in the competition at the 62nd Venice International Film Festival. For his film Paper Soldier, Aleksei German Jr. received the Silver Lion and Golden Osella for Best Cinematography from the 65th Venice International Film Festival.
Andrey Zvyagintsev's The Return (2003), a Golden Lion award from the 60th Venice International Film Festival recipient and Golden Globe Best Foreign Language Film and César Award for Best Foreign Film nominie, shows two brothers' test of life when their father suddenly returns that reaches a deep almost-mystic pitch. The Russian Ark (2003) by Alexander Sokurov, was filmed in a single 96-minute shot in the Russian Hermitage Museum is a dream-like narration that tells about classic Russian culture sailing in the Ark. It was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
Night Watch (2004) by Timur Bekmambetov was one of the first blockbusters made after the collapse of the Soviet film industry. The supernatural thriller starred Konstantin Khabensky and was based on the eponymous book by Sergei Lukyanenko. It was followed by the sequel Day Watch (2006), that nominated on Saturn Award for Best International Film .
Russian actress Renata Litvinova debuted as director in 2004 with the film Goddess: How I fell in Love.
The Italian is a 2005 Russian drama film directed by Andrei Kravchuk inspired by a true story, focuses on a young boy's determined search for his Mother. The film won the Grand Prix of the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk from the International Jury at the 55th Berlin International Film Festival, and a Special Mention from their Children's Jury.
The 9th Company is a 2005 Russian war film directed by Fedor Bondarchuk and set during the Soviet–Afghan War. The film is loosely based on a real-life battle that took place at Elevation 3234 in early 1988, during Operation Magistral, the last large-scale Soviet military operation in Afghanistan.
The serialised novels by Boris Akunin set in pre-Revolutionary Russia evolve around fictional Erast Fandorin adventures in three popular movies: The Azazel (2002) by Aleksandr Adabashyan, The Turkish Gambit (2005) by Dzhanik Fayziev and The State Counsellor (2005) by Filipp Yankovsky.
The film 977 by Nikolay Khomeriki was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Three years later his film Tale in the Darkness competed in the same section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Life of the Orthodox Monastery and their Christian miracles are described in the film The Island (2006) by Pavel Lungin. The film was screened out of the competition at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival and received the Golden Eagle and Nika awards.
Konstantin Lopushansky directed the science-fiction film The Ugly Swans in 2006, based on the 1967 novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The film received the Best Score award at Kinotavr.
Psychological drama The Banishment by Andrey Zvyagintsev and war drama Alexandra by Alexander Sokurov was selected in competition section at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival where The Banishment won the Best Actor Award.
12 is a Russian-language remake of 12 Angry Men directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, was screened in the competition at the 64th Venice International Film Festival there won the and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
Cargo 200 is a Russian neo-noir thriller directed by Aleksei Balabanov won Best Director Award on Gijón International Film Festival
One of Russia's all-time biggest box-office hits was Timur Bekmambetov's romantic-comedy The Irony of Fate 2, directed in 2007 as a sequel to the 1976 film. 2008 musical film Hipsters, directed by Valery Todorovsky about the youth lifestyle in the 1950s Soviet Union was a success at the box office. It received the Golden Eagle and Nika awards for best picture.
Valeriya Gai Germanika received the "Special Mention" of the jury of the Camera d'Or competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for her feature debut Everybody Dies but Me.
At the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Anna Melikian won the award for best Dramatic Directing for her film Mermaid.
Sci-fi picture Dark Planet (2008-2009) based on the book by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk, was one of the most expensive Russian films of the 2000s, with its budget of $36.6 million.
In 2014 censorship of cinematic works was officially introduced with a new and stricter revision of the "screening certificate" (Russian: прокатное удостоверение) act, without which public film screenings are not allowed and are punishable by law. Curse words in films were banned. The concept of a "screening certificate" first appeared in Russian laws in 1993, when Viktor Chernomyrdin signed the decree "On the registration of films and videos", the main purpose of which was to combat the spread of pirated content. For a decade and a half, the document was more or less a formality.
In 2010 the comedy anthology film Yolki produced by Timur Bekmambetov was released. It spawned seven sequels, one prequel and one spin-off. How I Ended This Summer by Alexei Popogrebski, a film shot in remote Chukotka, won Silver Bear for Best Actor in 60th Berlin International Film Festival. The same year arthouse film Silent Souls by Aleksey Fedorchenko won the Golden Osella for Best Cinematography and a FIPRESCI Award at the 67th Venice Film Festival.
The Edge by Alexei Uchitel was nominated for the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Yury Bykov debuted as a director with the film To Live in 2010. His film The Major screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. His film The Fool won the Best Actor Award at the 2014 Locarno Film Festival.
Crime drama Elena by Andrey Zvyagintsev and drama The Hunter by Baku Bakuradze was selected in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where Elena won the Special Jury Prize.
Faust, the last part of tetralogy by Aleksandr Sokurov, won the Golden Lion at the 68th Venice International Film Festival . His follow-up film Francofonia received the Mimmo Rotella Award at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival .
2011 romantic comedy Lucky Trouble directed by Levan Gabriadze and produced by Timur Bekmambetov, starred Hollywood actress Milla Jovovich who played the female lead opposite Konstantin Khabensky.
Generation P (2011) by Victor Ginzburg was an independently produced satiric comedy about advertisement business set in the 1990s. The film was based on Victor Pelevin's 1999 novel of the same name. The film won Special Jury Mention at the 2011 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Betrayal by Kirill Serebrennikov was selected in competition on 69th Venice International Film Festival.
Aleksey Adrianov directed the high-budget Boris Akunin adaptation Spy in 2012.
A Russian filmmaker who continued to make a name for himself in Hollywood was Timur Bekmambetov, a producer and director of blockbuster films. In the United States he directed Wanted (2008), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) and Ben-Hur (2016).
Starting from 2003 Russia's animation industry began to manufacture films which are profitable domestically and abroad. Some of the pictures are The Snow Queen 1, 2, 3, Masha and the Bear, Kikoriki, Dobrynya Nikitich and Zmey Gorynych.
War epic Stalingrad directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk in 2013 set new box-office records in Russia and abroad. After Stalingrad's success at the box-office, increasingly more films started to be made in Russia about WWII. Other WWII films that were made in Russia included The Dawns Here Are Quiet (2015), Panfilov's 28 Men (2016), Sobibor (2018), T-34 (2019), The Last Frontier (2020), V2. Escape from Hell (2021) and The Red Ghost (2021).
2013 comedy Kiss Them All! by Zhora Kryzhovnikov, produced by Timur Bekmambetov, is the most profitable domestic film in the history of Russian box office, having managed to earn more than 27.3 million dollars on a comparatively modest budget of $1.5 million. The film was followed by Kiss Them All! 2, which became the most profitable film of 2014 in Russia.
Hard to Be a God is a 2013 Russian epic medieval science fiction film directed by Aleksei German who co-wrote the screenplay with Svetlana Karmalita. It was his last film and it is based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
Chagall — Malevich is a 2014 Russian biographical drama film directed by Alexander Mitta about the Vitebsk period in the life of the artist Marc Chagall and his relationship with fellow artist Kazimir Malevich. It also showed at the 2014 Busan International Film Festival.
Film by Alexander Veledinsky, The Geographer Drank His Globe Away, based on the novel of the same name by Alexei Ivanov, was awarded the main prize at Kinotavr 2013.
In 2014, Andrey Zvyagintsev's Leviathan was entered in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where won Best Screenplay Award and nominated on four European Film Awards, including Best Film, BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. It won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. After the film got leaked online and was downloaded by 1.5 million users, domestic distributors decided to make a wide release of the controversial film which was negatively viewed by the Russian authorities due to its gloomy and critical view of Russia.
Two Women is a 2014 Russian drama film directed by Vera Glagoleva, starring Ralph Fiennes and Sylvie Testud. It is based on Ivan Turgenev's 1872 play A Month in the Country (originally written as Two Women in 1855). The film won the Best Feature Film award at the 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival.
Under Electric Clouds by Aleksei German won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution for Cinematography at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. His follow-up film Dovlatov (2018) about writer Sergei Dovlatov, was awarded a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution for costume and production design 68th Berlin International Film Festival .
In 2015 Ilya Naishuller debuted with the film Hardcore Henry which was screened at the Toronto Film Festival. He later directed Nobody (2021) in Hollywood.
Andrei Konchalovsky received the Silver Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival for his black and white Holocaust drama Paradise in 2016. He previously received the Silver Lion for The Postman's White Nights at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.
2016 one-man thriller film Collector by Aleksei Krasovsky starring Konstantin Khabensky won an award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Disaster film Flight Crew, directed by Nikolai Lebedev with actor Danila Kozlovsky was a success at the box-office in 2016.
The Student by Kirill Serebrennikov won the François Chalais Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival . Leto, Russian musical film also directed by Kirill Serebrennikov that depicts the Leningrad underground rock scene of the early 1980s, was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Cannes Soundtrack Award.
2016 film Zoology by Ivan I. Tverdovsky won the Special Jury Award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
In 2017, Andrey Zvyagintsev's Loveless was entered in the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where won Jury Prize and nominated on BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language, Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, and five nominations,including Best Film, and won two European Film Awards, including Best Cinematographer for Krichman, as well as the César Award for Best Foreign Film.
The 2017 sports drama Going Vertical by Anton Megerdichev is the highest grossing domestic film of the 2010s. It also became the highest-grossing Russian film in China, where it grossed ¥85 million RMB ($12.3 million) which brought the film's worldwide gross to $66.3 million.
Walt Disney produced Slavic fantasy film Last Knight directed by Dmitry Dyachenko was a success at the box-office in 2017, earning $30 million. The film was followed by two sequels in 2021; The Last Warrior: Root of Evil and The Last Warrior: A Messenger of Darkness.
Arrhythmia by director Boris Khlebnikov received the Best Actor Award at the 2017 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Matilda by Aleksei Uchitel about the relationship between ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya and Nicholas II caused controversy amongst monarchist and Orthodox authorities and public in 2017.
Maryus Vaysberg is a film director mainly working in the comedy genre. He is one of the most commercially successful directors of Russia. His 2017 film Naughty Grandma was a box office success and the most successful Russian film in 2017. Many of his films starred future president of the Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Anna's War by Aleksey Fedorchenko premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2018. The film won the Golden Eagle Award in the Best Film category. Fedorchenko won the award for Best Director.
Jumpman is a 2018 drama film directed and written by Ivan I. Tverdovskiy.
Drama film Beanpole by Kantemir Balagov and drama film Once in Trubchevsk by Larissa Sadilova selected in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival where Beanpole won the Best Director Award and FIPRESCI Prize. The previous Balagov's film Closeness also selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI Prize.
Sin is a Russian-Italian biographical drama film about the life of the famous sculptor and painter of the Renaissance, Michelangelo Buonarroti of Florence, in the early 16th century, written and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, released in October 2019.
Why Don't You Just Die! is a 2018 Russian dark comedy thriller film directed by Kirill Sokolov and starring Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Vitaly Khaev, Yevgenia Kregzhde and Yelena Shevchenko.
2019 comedy film Serf directed by Klim Shipenko and starring Miloš Biković set new domestic box-office records. It grossed $42.4 million against a budget of $2.6 million. The same year Shipenko directed the psychological thriller Text starring Alexander Petrov, which was also a success at the box-office and received a Nika and multiple Golden Eagle awards.
In the following years many Russian films have gotten wide releases in China, and there has been an increased number of planned Russo-Chinese co-productions. A few of the films produced by Russia and China are Viy, Viy 2: Journey to China starring Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice and Quackerz.
Dau, the first film of the controversial DAU project by director Ilya Khrzhanovsky, which was initially conceived as a biopic of Soviet scientist Lev Landau, premiered in 2019 in Paris. DAU. Natasha and DAU.Degeneration premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival there first won the Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution for Cinematography. The rest of the films were released on VOD through the official DAU website in 2020.
War drama Persian Lessons by Vadim Perelman premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival .
At the 77th Venice International Film Festival, Dear Comrades! directed by Andrei Konchalovsky telling the story of the Novocherkassk massacre, won the Special Jury Prize. The film also received a nomination for BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language.
Sputnik is a 2020 Russian science-fiction horror film directed by Egor Abramenko in his feature directorial debut. It stars Oksana Akinshina as a young doctor who is recruited by the Soviet military to assess a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and returned to Earth with a dangerous organism living inside him. Alongside Akinshina, the film's cast includes Pyotr Fyodorov and Fyodor Bondarchuk. The film was nominated on Saturn Award for Best International Film.
Historic romance film The Silver Skates, by Michael Lockshin in his directorial debut, was chosen as the opening film of the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival, where it premiered on October 1, 2020. The rights to the film were acquired by Netflix on June 16, 2021. The Silver Skates is the first Russian film to be released on the platform in the Netflix Originals category.
Yakut language drama Scarecrow by Dmitry Davydov won the main prize at the 2020 Kinotavr film festival . Yakut films, also nicknamed "Sakhawood", have been steadily gaining popularity in Russia.
Comedy drama House Arrest by Aleksey German Jr. and Ossetian language drama Unclenching the Fists by Kira Kovalenko was selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival there Unclenching the Fists won Un Certain Regard Award.
The Last Darling Bulgaria by Aleksey Fedorchenko premiered at the 2021 Moscow International Film Festival.
Historical war drama film Ivan Denisovich by veteran director Gleb Panfilov premiered at the 2021 Locarno Film Festival . The film based on the novel by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn starred Filipp Yankovsky in the main role.
In 2021 WWII action film The Red Ghost by Andrei Bogatyrev was released in Russian cinemas.
2021 film Gerda about a young striptease dancer by director Natalya Kudryashova premiered at the 74th Locarno Film Festival where it received the Best Actress Award and the special prize from the youth jury of the festival.
Natalya Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov's film Captain Volkonogov Escaped (2021), set during the Great Purge, was screened at the 78th Venice International Film Festival.
Surrealistic satire Petrov's Flu by Kirill Serebrennikov were screened at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, there won Vulcan Award for cinematography. Finnish-Russian co-production Compartment No. 6 by Juho Kuosmanen was also part of the program and it won the Grand Prix of the festival.
Apocalyptic drama Quarantine by Diana Ringo, co-produced by Finland and Russia, was an official non-English language Golden Globes 2022 entry.
Tchaikovsky's Wife by Kirill Serebrennikov was included in the competition program of 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Convenience Store by Mikhail Borodin, about Uzbeki immigrants working illegally in Moscow, premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival.
The 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has impacted Russian cinema. The Russian Association of Theater Owners said that there is a "high probability of the liquidation of the entire film screening industry"; ticket sales in March 2022 were half of what they had been in March 2021. The Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Berlinale, Cannes, Venice, and the Toronto Film Festival banned official Russian delegations. The Stockholm Film Festival banned all Russian projects funded by the government. The European Film Awards and Emmys banned Russian films outright. FIAPF (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films, translated as the International Federation of Film Producers Associations) paused the accreditation of the Moscow International Film Festival and Message to Man until further notice. MIPTV in France won't allow "any Russian film and TV outfits" in 2022, and Russia has also been banned from the Banff World Media Festival and NATPE. Several major international film distributors, including The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures, Paramount, and Warner Bros stopped screening films in Russia; prior to the invasion, movies produced in the United States made up 70% of the Russian film market. FIPRESCI announced that it will not participate in festivals and other events organized by the Russian government and its offices, and canceled a colloquium in St. Petersburg, that was to make it familiar with new Russian films.
Ukrainian film director Sergei Loznitsa spoke out against banning Russian films. He said: "Among Russian filmmakers, there are people who have condemned the war, who oppose the regime and openly expressed their condemnation. And in a way they're victims of this whole conflict like the rest of us." And: "We must not judge people based on their passports. We can judge them on their acts." Dissident Russian film director Kirill Serebrennikov also spoke out against the boycott.
There are around 400 private production companies. They do not have their own facilities for creating films, and therefore must rent out spaces and equipment from their qualified partners. There are 35 film studios (9 of them are governmental) that are the major service for renting space. The studios have 107 shooting pavilions. There are 23 private companies on the Russian market that rent their equipment of all kinds to the production teams.
The list is composed by the Cinema Foundation of Russia. It allows companies get governmental financial support. In 2017 the number of market leaders was increased up to 10 companies.
See also: List of highest-grossing films in the Soviet Union
According to Kinopoisk.ru, highest-grossing Russian films, as of early 2020, are the following: List of highest-grossing Russian films
Note: This list does not include earlier Soviet films, which are listed separately on the list of highest-grossing films in the Soviet Union.
There are 600 companies that release films all around Russia that includes 105 chain cinema theatres and 495 independent theatres. Chain companies consist of 29 federal, 19 regional and 57 local theatres. According to Neva Research, as of 1 July 2016 there were 1,227 cinemas with 4,067 screens in Russia. Ten major cinema companies hold 346 theatres with 1,772 screens, which corresponds to 43.6% of the whole amount.
In 2015 all the cinemas were finally digitalized. In the beginning of 2016 Russia has 33 theatres with 4D technology, 80 theatres with premium sound system, 43 theatres with 3D IMAX effect.
There are many film festivals in Russia. They include:
Notable Video on Demand platforms include Okko, Start, Kinopoisk HD, Premier, Ivi.ru, KION.
However online content platforms also face censorship in Russia.
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((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)