Books & Films

Recommended reading:

  • The House by the Dvina: Eugenie Fraser (autobiography)
  • The Dvina Remains: Eugenie Fraser
  • Speak, Memory: Vladimir Nabokov (autobiography)
  • The Princess of Siberia: Christine Sutherland (biography)
  • The Golden Horde: Sheila Paine (travel)
  • The Spirit-Wrestlers – A Russian Journey: Philip Marsden (travel, Doukhobors)
  • The Bronski House – a return to the Borderlands: Philip Marsden (travel, history, Poland, Lithuania)
  • The Siege: Helen Dunmore (novel about the 1942 siege of Leningrad)
  • The Betrayal: Helen Dunmore (sequel to The Siege)
  • Natasha’s Dance – A Cultural History of Russia: Orlando Figes
  • The Empire’s New Clothes – A History of the Russian Fashion Industry: Christine Ruane
  • Beauty in Exile – the artists, models and nobility who fled the Russian Revolution and influenced the world of fashion: Alexandre Vassiliev
  • Borderland – a journey through the history of Ukraine: Anna Reid (history, travel)
  • Walking Since Daybreak – a story of Eastern Europe, World War II and the heart of our century: Modris Eksteins  (history, memoir, Latvia)

Recommended Russian/Soviet films (or films about Russia/USSR):

  • The Barber of Siberia – dir. Nikita Mikhalkov, 1998  barber-of-siberia
  • Burnt by the Sun – dir. Nikita Mikhalkov, 1994 burnt-by-the-sun
  • Anna Karenina – dir. Bernard Rose (with Sophie Marceau, Sean Bean), 1997 anna-karenina
  • Dr Zhivago – dir. David Lean (with Omar Sharif, Julie Christie), 1965
  • Hedgehog in the Fog (& other animated films) – dir. Yuri Norshteyn, 1975
  • Ballets Russes – dir. Goldfine & Geller, 2005 ballets-russes
  • Andrei Rublev - dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1966 andrei-rublev
  • Ivan’s Childhood - dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962
  • Mirror – dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975 mirror
  • A Room and a Half – dir. Andrei Khrzhanovskiy, 2009
  • Cherry Town – dir. Gerbert Rappaport (Music by Shostokovich), 1963
  • The Return – dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2003 the-return
  • The Banishment - dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2007
  • Elena – dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2011
  • Leviathan – dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014 levitan
  • The Island – dir. Pavel Lungin, 2006
  • The Cranes are Flying – dir. Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957 cranes-are-flying
  • Aelita (Queen of Mars) – dir. Yakov Protazanov, 1924
  • Mother – dir. Vsevold Pudovkin, 1926
  • Man with a Movie Camera – dir. Dziga Vertov, 1929 
  • Russian Ark – dir. Aleksandr Sokurov, 2002 russian-ark
  • War and Peace – US version with Audrey Hepburn – dir. King Vidor, 1956; Russian version (8 hours long!) – dir. Sergei Bondarchuk, 1967 
  • Battleship Potemkin - dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925
  • Oktyabr (October) – dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1928 
  • Alexander Nevsky - dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1938 alexander-nevsky
  • Ivan the Terrible - dir. Sergei Eisenstein, Pt 1: 1944, Pt 2: 1958 ivan-the-terrible
  • The Last Station (about Tolstoy in old age) – dir. Michael Hoffman, 2009 last-station
  • Koktebel - dir. Alexei Popogrebsky, 2003
  • How I Ended This Summer – dir. Alexei Popogrebsky, 2010 how-i-ended-this-summer
  • Volga-Volga (волга-волга) - dir. Gregori Alexandrov, 1938
  • Prisoner of the Mountains – dir. Sergei Bodrov, 1996
  • Mongol - dir. Sergei Bodrov, 2007
  • Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (re Hutsul community in the Ukrainian Carpathians) - dir. Sergei Paradjanov, 1965forgotten-ancestors
  • The Color of Pomegranates (re 18th c Armenian poet, Sayat Nova) - dir. Sergei Paradjanov, 1968
  • The Legend of the Surami Fortress (ancient tale about a Georgian fortress) – dir. Sergei Paradjanov, 1984 surami-fortress
  • Onegin – dir. Martha Fiennes, 1999 onegin

Recommended Eastern European films (or films set in the region):

  • Kolya – dir. Jan Sverak, 1996 (Czechoslovakia)
  • Closely Observed Trains – dir. Jiri Menzel, 1966 (Czechoslovakia) 
  • Sunshine – dir. Istvan Szabo, 1999 (Hungary)
  • Katalin Varga – dir. Peter Strickland, 2009 (set in Hungarian/Romanian Carpathians) katalin-varga
  • A Generation - dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1955 (Poland)
  • Kanal – dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1956
  • Ashes and Diamonds - dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1958
  • Katyn - dir. Andrzej Wajda, 2007
  • Dekalog (The Ten Commandments) – dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988 (Poland)
  • A Short Film about Killing - dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988 
  • A Short Film about Love - dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988 
  • The Singing Revolution – documentary about the events preceding independence of Estonia in 1991, by James & Maureen Tusty, 2006 singing-revolution