5 must-see Russian movies that are coming out in early 2019

This time of year Russian directors mix Dostoyevsky with American Psycho, and the shocking results can now be seen in movie theaters.

1. Save Leningrad (Спасти Ленинград)

The Siege of Leningrad may well be one of the darkest moments in the collective memory of the Russian nation. Soviet filmmakers have tried their hand at bringing the story of the 2.5-year long siege to the big screen. Yet, Save Leningrad is one of the very few contemporary films based on tragic real-life events, and this is what makes it so intriguing.

Young lovers manage to get on a barge that’s their ticket a out of the besieged city.. But their not safe yet. A storm wrecks the barge, and to make things worse, the Nazis start bombing the debris and survivors.

The trailer reminds one of James Cameron’s Titanic, but considering that the real events behind these two tragedies differ substantially, there’s still much suspense about the new Russian film.

Release date: Jan. 31, 2019

2. The Final Ordeal (Последнее испытание)

There is much confusion about whether this film is based on the 2002 bloody terrorist attack in Moscow: the Nord-Ost siege.

The initial version of the script was written shortly after the siege and was inspired by the tragic event that claimed at least 170 lives. Alexei Petrukhin, the film’s author and director, said he initially planned this story as a tribute to the American-made Die Hard franchise: an ex-cop happens to be at the right place at the right time, and he fights for the lives of the hostages.

The plans changed after the release of Petrukhin’s debut film, Uchilka (teacher), a drama about a teacher who goes rogue and takes her own class hostage. The director said he was so inspired by viewers’ reaction to the film (by no means univocal) that he placed its main characters in the center of his new story, as well as changed the story’s timeline, bringing it from 2002 to 2019.

Yet, the gravity of historic events is so strong that the story just can’t escape from it and not cause any associations. In any case, action, tension and intensity on the screen are guaranteed.

Release date: Feb. 7, 2019

3. Wolves and Sheep (Волки и овцы)

The Russian cartoon industry took the global market by storm with the release of the famous cartoon-blockbuster, Masha and the Bear, which has broken record after record. This is exactly why you should never miss new animated films made in Russia. Who knows, maybe this picture will conquer the global market just as convincingly.

Wolves and sheep have learned to live together in peace. But their peaceful coexistence is suddenly imperiled by two mysterious newcomers: an arctic fox and a little lamb.

Release date: Jan. 24, 2019

4. Sunrise, and the rest of Russian horror films (Рассвет)

Russian modern horror is having a renaissance: the first half of 2019 will mark a release of many pictures in the horror genre: Creature, Sunrise, Queen of Spades, and Guests, to name a few. So far,Sunrise looks most promising judging by its chilling and thrilling teaser packed with intense and graphic horror scenes. And even if this particular one does not meet your expectations (who knows?), Russian horror is definitely a genre to keep an eye on in the future.

A woman participates in an experiment aimed at curing patients who suffer from realistic nightmares. Together with other volunteers, she is immersed in a very realistic group nightmare. The experiment goes wrong and they wake up in a completely different reality that is far worse than any nightmare.

Release date: Jan. 31, 2019

5. Russian Psycho (Русский бес)

This one has already taken “Best Director” at the Kinotavr Film Festival in 2018, and is set to hit the silver screen in the first half of 2019. Some film critics compare it to the works of Dostoyevsky, seasoned with the ultraviolence of American Psycho. This comparison in itself is a good reason to watch this film.

A young artist falls for the daughter of a prosperous businessman and is forced to start his own business to earn the respect of his demanding father-in-law. However, he quickly realizes someone is trying to hurt his business and even threaten his life. A quest to find the anonymous enemy will test the man’s nature and open the darkest corners of his mind.

Release date: Jan. 31, 2019

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