Pioner Cinema » The History of Russian Cinema in 50 Films

Pioner Cinema and Kommersant Weekend present a new year-long programme, “The History of Russian Cinema in 50 Films,” timed to coincide with the Year of Russian Cinema.


26 December – «The Voice» (1982) by Ilya Averbakh


2016 was officially announced as the Year of Russian Cinema. In celebration, Pioner is presenting a unique curatorial programme: an alternate history of Russian cinema compiled by Mikhail Trofimenkov, one of the best Russian film critics and author of the Weekend magazine. With this programme, Trofimenkov proposes his own original and subjective look at the phenomenon of Russian cinema and its development. Organized not chronologically, but according to the films’ thematic closeness to each other, the programme presents the history of Russian film as a living process and opens it anew.

“In our original and subjective history of film, we intentionally excluded the ‘eternal classics:’ “Battleship Potemkin,” “Andrey Rublev,” even “Jolly Fellows.” Eternity just isn’t as interesting as sudden ‘flashes’ of creativity. This history is made of those ‘flashes’ — eccentric, unfairly forgotten, unjustly stigmatized, obscured by their creators’ other works, and altogether curious films. Among them are great films, yes, but no ‘masterpieces’ in that dead academic sense of the word: all of them are alive” (Mikhail Trofimenkov).

The screenings will take place at Pioner Cinema over the course of the whole year on Mondays. Each screening will be preceded by an article by Mikhail Trofimenkov in the Weekend magazine.


The programme opened on 8 February at 21.30 with a showing of Vladimir Romashkov’s “Stenka Razin” (1908), the first Russian film to be conceived and shot as a feature, and Evgeny Bauer’s “The Dying Swan” (1916), the first Russian horror film. Both silent films was be projected from 35mm film stock with live musical accompaniment (performed by Filipp Cheltsov). The programme was presented by the project’s creator, film critic and Weekend journalist Mikhail Trofimenkov, as well as by pre-Revolutionary film specialist Nikolai Izvolov.

15 February — “The Fiery Miles” (1957). The film came out in the thick of the Lenin Code’s renaissance, but director Samson Samsonov, unlike the directors behind most of the ‘thaw’ film-manifestos, didn’t seek out the sincerity and truth in the revolution; instead, he made a straight-up Western. He was the first to think of it: the Russia of 1918 was just like the Wild West, the ‘dotted line’ of the front just like the frontier, and our tachankas (carts) were the same as their stagecoaches. Not a single phrase in the film reminds us even remotely of a battle cry, nobody dreams of a bright future, and nobody is scared by the fact that the fate of the revolution is being decided here and now. Red and White don’t mean anything in the heat of the fight, and at the end of the day, the only winner is the one who reaches the besieged city first and saves it. Opening remarks by film historian Evgenij Margolit.

22 February — the first Soviet feature film, and the first film about the reformed Tsarist intelligentsia — “Congestion” (1918) by Aleksandr Panteleev, Nikolai Pashkovsky and Anatoly Dolinov.

29 February — «The River» (2002) by Aleksey Balabanov

7 March — “The Red Imps” (1923) by Ivane Perestiani

14 March — “The Velvet Season” (1978) by Vladimir Pavlovich

21 March — “S.V.D: The Club of the Big Deed” (1927) by Grigori Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg

28 March — “A Young Composer’s Odyssey” (1985) by Giorgi Shengelaya

4 April — “The Myth of Leonid” (1991) by Dmitriy Dolinin

11 April — “My Grandmother” (1929) by Kote Mikaberidze

18 April, 21:30 — “A Day Before…” (1991) by Oleg Boretskii and Alexander Negreba

25 April, 21:30 — “The Russian Question” (1947) by Mikhail Romm

2 May — “The Blue Express” (1929) by Ilya Trauberg

9 May — “Siberians” (1940) by Lev Kuleshov

16 May — “The Miracle Worker” (1936) by Aleksandr Medvedkin

23 May — “Vienos dienos kronika” (1963) by Vytautas Zalakevicius

30 May — “Khronika nochi” (1972) by Aleksei Speshnev

6 June — “Party Membership Card” (1936) by Ivan Pyryev

13 June — “Duel / Military Secret” (1944) by Vladimir Legoshin

20 June — “Cruelty” (1959) by Vladimir Skuybin

27 June — “Vozvrashchenie k zhizni” (1972) by Vladimir Basov

4 July — “Speech for the Defence” (1976) by Vadim Abdrashitov

11 July — “Interrogation” (1979) by Rasim Ojagov

18 July – “A Trio Came Out Of The Woods” (1958) by Konstantin Voinov

25 July — “The Murderers Are Coming” (1942) by Vsevolod Pudovkin and Yuri Tarich

1 August — “Broken Shoes” (1933) by Margarita Barskaya

8 August — “Lenin in Poland” (1965) by Sergey Yutkevich

15 August — “Nocturne” (1966) by Rostislav Goryaev

22 August — “Outskirts” (1998) by Petr Lutsik

29 August — “A Merciless Night” (1961) by Aleksandr Fayntsimmer

5 September — “The Fighters” (1936) by Gustav von Wangenheim

12 September — “On the Kiev Line” (1968) by Vladimir Denisenko

19 September — “Ask the Dead about the Price of Death” (1977) by Kaljo Kiisk

26 September — “Falling Frost” (1977) by Kaljo Kiisk

3 October — “Rainbow” (1944) by Mark Donskoy

10 October — “Dear, Dearest, Beloved, Unique..” (1984) by Dinara Asanova

17 October — “Once Upon a Time in the Provinces” (2008) by Ekaterina Shagalova

24 October — “A Strange Time” (1997) by Natalya Pyankova

31 October — “Strange People” (1969) by Vasily Shukshin

7 November – The Turning Point (1945) by Fridrikh Ermler

14 November – Home (2011) by Oleg Pogodin

21 November – Wings (1966) by Larisa Shepitko

28 November – Commisars (1971) by Nikolai Maschenko

5 December – Agony (1974/81) by Elem Klimov

12 December – Private Life (1982) by Yuli Raizman

19 December – Grachi (1982) by Konstantin Erhov