The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Soviet September Film Series

The Frida Cinema is proud to partner with our friends at South East European Film Festival (SEEFest) to present Soviet September, a series of nine acclaimed films representing six decades of cinema from the former Soviet Union (1922 – 1991).

Mirror – Sept 1, 6, 7
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky | 1974
In an unconventional structure, Mirror depicts the final moments of 40 year old Alexei as he reminisces on his childhood, family, and relationships before dying. Making use of existing newsreels and original footage shot for the film, Andrei Tarkovsky overlaps scenes and incidents into a stream-of-consciousness rhythm of fiction and non-fiction. This personal depiction of memory will take Alexei through the halls of his mind, and half a century of Russian history. 

Come And See – Sept 8, 9, 10
Directed by Elem Klimov | 1995
Young Flyora (fearlessly performed by Aleksei Kravchenko) awaits his recruitment into the Soviet partisan forces in the midst of Nazi occupation in Belarus. Exuding a childlike eagerness to step away from his family life and into the reckless sensation of combat, Flyora is suddenly thrown into the trenches of the most unfathomable kind of horror. With nowhere and no one else to return to, he is left with no choice but to tread onward through lands obliterated by death and war. We see it all through Flyora’s eyes; the destruction, the slaughter, and finally, the transformation he undergoes in its aftermath.

War And Peace – Sept 11, 10
Directed by Sergei Bondarchuk | 1965
War and Peace is a Soviet war drama that follows three characters throughout Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. These include the awkward yet kind-hearted Pierre Bezukov (Sergei Bondarchuk), who Tolstoy based on himself, the alluring aristocrat Natasha Rostova (Lyudmila Savelyeva), and the valiant Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (Vyacheslav Tikhonov). As the French invade, we follow these three as they struggle with love, the class system, and–of course–war.

Ivan’s Childhood – Sept 13, 14
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky | 1962
Adapted from Vladimir Bogomolov’s 1957 short story “Ivan”, Tarkovsky’s film tells the story of 12 year old Ivan Bondarev. Taken in by a Soviet Army outfit on the frontlines, Ivan performs non-combat recon missions due to his small size and ability to blend in. But with the Nazis advancing closer and closer, Ivan’s role is reconsidered by Soviet officers wrestling with the existential questions of war and humanity.

The Cranes Are Flying – Sept 14, 15, 16
Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov | 1957
Boris and Veronika are two young lovers living in Moscow when they are hit with the news that Nazi Germany has invaded the Soviet Union. Swept up with patriotic fervor, Boris joins the army while Veronika stays home, with the two hoping to reunite after the war ends. However, the savage nature of the conflict takes a toll on not just their homes and families, but their relationship as well.

The Ascent – Sept 18, 19
Directed by Larisa Shepitko | 1977
Based on the novel Sotnikov by Vasil Bykaŭ, the film tells the story of two Soviet partisans who go to a Belarusian village in search of food. They head back to their unit but are spotted by two German patrol officers. After a gunfight, they get away but one is injured in the process, leading to the partisans’ capture and imprisonment in a German base.

Solaris – Sept 20, 21, 22
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky | 1972
Based on Stanislaw Lem’s novel of the same name, the film centers on a space station orbiting the fictional planet Solaris. The crew of scientists on the station report that they witnessed a number of strange happenings. Psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to investigate, in the hope that getting to the bottom of the situation will allow them to continue studying the planet. Once he arrives however, he experiences the same strange occurrences and finds himself visited by ghosts from his past.

Battleship Potemkin – Sept 25, 26
Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein | 1925
Divided into five acts, the film follows the story of the abused crew members of the Potemkin, who stage a munity against their aggressive captain over spoiled rations. When news reaches the shore, the sympathetic Russian people – having long suffered under the czarist regime – send food and water out to the troops. Civilians and troops alike begin to rise up en masse against their oppressors.

Stalker – Sept 27, 28, 29, 30
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky | 1979
Buried beyond the fog of an industrial town is an area known only as “The Zone”. Protected by a military blockade, the mysterious Zone is believed to contain a room that grants wishes. A Writer seeking creative inspiration and an intellectually curious Professor hire a guide – or “stalker” – to escort them through the hazardous terrain and into the Zone.