Tracing the clash of generations from the Thaw to Perestroika, Youth on the March! The Rise of the Soviet New Wave, is a film season collaboration with our friends at Regent Street Cinema and MUBI. Curated by renowned film critic and journalist Konstantin Shavlovsky, the season moves from last minute rebellion in Otar Iosseliani’s gentle classic Falling Leaves (1966) to punk contempt in Little Vera (1988) as a new generation of Soviet directors break free to shock, satirise and play.
Unlike the classic films of the French New Wave, these films are still unknown outside of Russia. Most will be shown for the first time in the UK, certainly for the first time on their original formats.
Titles and screenings:
2 May – Falling Leaves (1966) by Otar Iosseliani
This Georgian debut by Otar Iosseliani follows Nico, an idealistic young worker who begins work at a state-run wine collective only to struggle with the immoral way the factory is run. Falling Leaves is a complex meditation on factory life, disappearing rural traditions and Georgian history.
9 May – We’ll Live Til Monday (1968) by Stanislav Rostotsky
A bittersweet comedy following the struggle of a high school history teacher who must choose between his head and his heart: will he abide by the strict rules of the school or give in to his natural warmth of feeling towards his students and beautiful fellow teacher, Natalya?
17 May – Long Goodbye (1971) by Kira Muratova
A little-known masterpiece by Ukrainian filmmaker Kira Muratova, this is the story of a mother’s overbearing love for her son.
22 May – Woodpeckers Don’t Get Headaches (1975) by Dinara Asanova
Young boy Mukha longs to be taken seriously as an adult and a rock musician. When he falls in love one summer, he begins to hear music everywhere, from the rain to the woodpecker’s rattle.
30 May – Courier (1986) by Karin Shakhnazarov
Russia’s equivalent of the Breakfast Club, this witty comedy follows teenager Ivan as he rebels against tradition and expectation, surrounded by the exciting new world of Western influence: Adidas, skate-culture, breakdancing and pop music.
6 June – Is It Easy to be Young (1987) by Juris Podnieks
Podnieks’ ground-breaking documentary is a portrait of rebellious teenagers growing up under Communist rule in Latvia – thought of as one of the most controversial films of its era.
13 June – Assa (1987) by Sergei Solovev
The film that brought Russian rock music from the underground into the mainstream, this cult crime classic tells a tale of jealousy and violence between a young nurse, her lover – the head of a criminal gang, and an eccentric young musician.
20 June – The Needle(1988)by Rashid Nugmanov
Part Pulp Fiction, part Betty Blue, Naugmanov’s film charts the attempt of enigmatic drifter, Moro, who returns to Almaty to find his ex girlfriend stuck in the underground world of the drugs, mafia and violence.
27 June – Little Vera (1988) by Vasili Pichul
The film that shocked Soviet audiences with on-screen nudity for the first time, Little Vera is the portrait of a feisty, mean-minded hellcat who injects chaos into her dull provincial town.