REEEC Multimedia Library: New Acquisitions for Instructional Use

These new titles, along with other holdings of the REEEC Multimedia Resource Library, are intended to assist university faculty and K-12 teachers who are interested in incorporating cinematic and other multimedia materials into their courses and studies. The Center’s policy is to provide access to its collection free of charge to the following: University of Illinois faculty, graduate students, registered student organizations, K-12 instructors and university/college faculty across the United States. In general, first priority is given to University of Illinois faculty teaching Russian, East European, and Eurasian area studies courses. The collection is for educational purposes only. The Center does not lend films to individuals for private viewing.The Center does not lend materials outside the US.

These acquisitions were made possible with the generous support of Title VI National Resource Center Grants from the United States Department of Education.

Russian/Soviet Titles

Stilyagi/Hipsters. A film by Valeriy Todorovskiy (2008, NTSC, 125 min., col., Russian with English subtitles). See trailer.

Hipsters_70x100-low-res-poster-240x342Course relevance: de-stalinization, thaw, youth, Komsomol, American music, Soviet Union.

Synopsis: Moscow 1955. Stalin has been dead for two years, but not even Khruschchev’s thaw can prevent Komsomol shock troops from hounding hopsters (stilyagi), fans of American jazz, culture, and fashion. The student Mels, a Komsomol member, meets Polya, a hipster, while conducting a raid on a hipster hangout. Mels falls in love with Polya while his Communist comrade harbors romantic feelings for him.

With delightful retro-musical scenes and cinematography parodying the style of Soviet realism, Hipsters is a lush rebel-with-a-cause romance full of intricately choreographed toe-tapping numbers, and plenty of satirical social commentary.

Awards: Anchorage International Film Festival 2009 (Audience Choice), Chicago International Film Festival 2009(Best Art Direction), Golden Eagle Awards – Russia 2009.

Reviews: NY Times, Metacritic.


Siberiade. A Film by Andrei Konchalovsky. (1979, NTSC, 260 min., col., Russian with English subtitles). See trailer.

PhotoELF Edits:2009:12:07 --- Batch ResizedCourse relevance: Siberia, 20th century, globalization, Soviet cinema.

Summary: Spanning more than six decades of Russian history encompassing the Bolshevik Revolution, two World Wars and the era of modernization, Siberiade is Andrei Konchalovsky’s passionate and ambitious examination of the Soviet spirit, as represented in two families of opposing ideologies: the proletariat Ustyuzhanins and the wealthy Solomins. Through their multigenerational conflicts and alliances, Konchalovsky dramatizes the evolution of the Russian people, bound together by the common struggle for survival and faithfulness to the motherland.

Awards: Cannes Film Festival 1979 (Grand Prize of the Jury), Chicago International Film Festival 1979 (Nominated for Best Feature), National Board of Review, USA 1982 (Top Foreign Films).

Reviews: New York Times, Images Journal.


Commissar. A Film by Aleksandar Aksoldov (1967, NTSC, 105 min., b&w, Russian with English subtitles). See trailer.

MV5BNTUyMzY1ODQ2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzQwNzE0MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_Course relevance: Russian Civil War, women, Bolshevik revolutionaries, family, gender, anti-Semitism, Brezhnev era, anti-Israel propaganda, banned films.

Summary: Based on one of Vasily Grossman‘s first short stories, “In the Town of Berdichev” (В городе Бердичеве), this film is an extraordinary drama set against the Russian Civil War, that tells the story of Klavdia Vavilova, a fierce Red Army woman warrior who accidentally puts herself ahead of the needs of the Revolution – by becoming pregnant. Vavilova’s superiors commandeer a room for her with Yefim, a Ukrainian Jewish tinsmith, his wife and six children. Yefim is outraged that yet another burden has been placed upon his family by the fledgling Soviet government. But Bolshevik doctrinaire and persecuted Russian Jew soon discover they have more in common than they knew. When her baby arrives and her old unit returns, Vavilova faces the hardest choice of her life: either cast aside motherhood for revolutionary martyrdom, or remain with her new-born son and run the same risk of White Army pogroms and Red Army exploitation that Yefim’s family have courageously endured.

Awards: Berlin International Film Festival 1988, Ghent International Film Festival 1988, Nika Awards 1989.

Reviews: New York Times, Dennis Grunes’ Blog.


Rada Liubvi/Slave of Love. A Film by Nikita Mikhalkov (1976, NTSC, 95 min., color, Russian with English subtitles).

A Slave of LoveCourse relevance: Bolshevik Revolution.

Summary: Nikita Mikhalkov examines the plight of the filmmaker operating in an uncertain political climate in his irony-laden seriocomedy Slave of Love. The time is 1918, at the height of the Bolshevik revolution. A small group of filmmakers are hurriedly trying to complete a silent melodrama while the world changes all around them. As production progresses, leading lady Elena Solovei metamorphoses from self-centered movie star to committed revolutionary. Normally described as “Chekhovian,” director Mikhalkov borrows a few pages from Pirandello. With Slave of Love he gained his first serious international attention. ~ Rovi Hal Erickson, New York Times.

Awards: National Board of Review 1978, New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1978.

Reviews: Phoenix Cinema.

Ukrainian Titles

Ukraine’s Forgotten Children. A documentary by Kate Blewett (2012, NTSC, 89 min., English). See trailer.

zabytye_deti_ukrainy_bbc.forgotten_childrenCourse relevance: post-socialism, disability, children, social welfare.

Summary: Around £9 billion has been spent in Ukraine in preparation for hosting Euro 2012 this June, but while vast sums have been found for infrastructure in the major cities, the budgets for the weakest members of society have been under strain.  This film takes us into a disturbing world that the Ukrainian government would rather outsiders did not witness.  It is a powerful and emotionally gripping indictment of a system that hides orphan children away in remote and inaccessible institutions, before labeling many of them as beyond rehabilitation.

Reviews: The Yorker, The Daily Mail.

Hungarian Titles

Budapest Retro: Scenes of Everyday Life from the ’60s and ’70s, 1-2. Documentary by Zsigmond Gábor Papp (1998 and 2003, PAL, 170 min., b&w/col., Hungarian with English subtitles).

bu coverCourse relevance: Hungary, Kádár-era socialism, everyday life, socialist city.

Summary: Based on newsreels, ads, and other archival footage from the Kádár-era, this documentary deals not with the main historical events shaping Budapest but how people lived in the capital during late socialism. Episodes present spaces, objects and activities of everyday life: the Pest street, the flat, the bistro, the car, the store, celebrations, and fashion.


Balaton Retro: Scenes of Everyday Life from the ’60s and ’70s, 1-2. Documentary by Zsigmond Gábor Papp (2007, PAL, 82 min., b&w/col., Hungarian with English subtitles).

indexCourse Relevance: Hungary, Kádár-era socialism, leisure, tourism, sports.

Summary: In the focus of this documentary drama by noted Hungarian director Gábor Zsigmond Papp stands the Lake Balaton, Hungary’s main tourist attraction. In the 1950s, the Balaton changed from a resort reserved to the few select into a popular vacation destination for the masses, and was frequently featured in the ads and news reports throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The film presents the high points of Balaton vacations in five parts. Giving us a glimpse of how socialist citizens partied during late socialism.

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