Russia's Underground Film Industry (Documentary | Part 1/3)

Uploaded by vice on Oct 9, 2012


FILM NARRATOR: This May Day celebration in Moscow gives
the Russians the opportunity to crow loud and
long over the West.
The face of a people whose leaders
would wipe out democracy.
SHANE SMITH: We all know the images of old Soviet Russia.
But in the 1980s, as the walls in Eastern Europe were coming
down, something really freaky happened--
Soviet parallel cinema.




PASHA: We don't like any movie.
We close your screen.

SHANE SMITH: No one overarching theme to parallel
cinema, except that they're all anti-establishment.
They are madness on film.

So when we saw them, we realized we have to go Russia,
and we have to meet them.


SHANE SMITH: So right after the Russian Revolution in the
1920s, there was a big creative explosion of
experimental cinema in the new Soviet Union.
Vertov, Eisenstein--
all the big boys were making their films.

Lenin believed that film was the most important of artistic
expression, because most of the people were illiterate.
But then Stalin took over.
And then you have 60 years of socialist realism--
workers going off to work, farmers going off to farms,
soldiers going off to soldier, et cetera, et cetera.
Until the 1980s, when the Soviet regime started to
crumble and Gorbachev brought about Perestroika and
Glasnost, which means restructuring and reforming.
And for a tiny little window, there was a time when you
think, maybe I could make something and the KBG won't
put me in jail for the rest of my life.
So this new experimental cinema started for the first
time since the '20s.
And it was called parallel cinema.
SHANE SMITH: The first person we met up with was Boris
Yukhananov, one of the founding
fathers of parallel cinema.
We found him at Cine Fantom, which is now a theater but has
been at various times a film festival, a magazine, and a
meeting house where all the parallel cinema directors and
actors would get together and make their films.

SHANE SMITH: Next, we headed over to see another founding
father of parallel cinema, Gleb Aleinikov.
Gleb and his brother, Igor, made tons of films in
the '80s and '90s.
They're actually probably the most famous and prolific.
SHANE SMITH: Igor is dead.
He died in a plane crash.
But Gleb is running the second-largest
TV station in Russia.
So we went there and asked him, how were these crazy
films received?
Who watched them?
And did they have any problems when they
showed them to people?

SHANE SMITH: The parallel cinema movement and the fine
arts movement happened at the same time in
Russia in the '80s.
And when we were talking to the founding fathers of the
cinema part, they kept on saying, you
have to Oleg Kulik.
You have to talk to Oleg Kulik.
He's a performance artist that was really part of the initial
burst of parallel cinema.

Famously, he was the dog for a year, where he would go all
around Europe and Russia naked, on a
chain, attacking people.
In fact, he got arrested.
He got arrested in Germany, and Sweden,
and France, and Russia.

And now he's the Messiah.
He's the Messiah of a new religion,
the religion of nothing.
So we went to go see him.
And let me tell you, his bio and his reputation do not live
up to meeting the man in person.

Here he is putting his had up a cow's vagina.
Here he is acting as a bird.
Here he is with some pigs.
Horse biting his nipple.
Here he is with a buddy.

SHANE SMITH: And they need a messiah for the new religion?

SHANE SMITH: So the messiah spent the afternoon explaining
his religion to me.
And he showed me all kinds of images, and all kinds of
supporting materials.
And I didn't really get it.
And I left at the end of the afternoon, really in dire need
of a drink.

We're here in Moscow.
It's cold.
But we're going to go meet Andre Silvestrov, who's one of
followers of alcho cinema, which is cinema of the booze.

How are you?
Shane, hi.
Nice to meet you.

PASHA: Now we start to shoot alcho cinema.
Now, yes, immediately.
SHANE SMITH: And so alcho cinema, is it a movement like
parallel cinema?
Or just defining films that have a lot of alcohol in it?


SHANE SMITH: So can we make a film with you guys, a parallel
cinema film?

PASHA: You must drink tomorrow.
I have to go to bed now, then.
PASHA: Good evening.
SHANE SMITH: So we were drunk.
And we were excited.
Because the next day we were going to make some movies.