Rossica Academia's Russky London Kino Klub presents the first UK retrospective of Alexei Balabanov – FILM FESTIVAL

Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Goldfrapp Tales of us Last Saturday I went along to a screening of Alexei Balabanov's crime story Brother (Brat) and I loved it! It is a great little tale set in Saint Petersburg during the vacuum left by the post soviet era. I knew very little about Brother or indeed the acclaimed Russian Director Alexei Balabanov (apart from having viewed Balabanov's startling 2010 film The Stoker or Kochegar) before seeing Brother so I was filled with joy when this little film screened from what looked like an 80s VHS transfer turned out to be a cracking tale.


An ex-soldier with a personal honor code enters the family crime business in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Aleksey Balabanov


Aleksey Balabanov

Sergey Bodrov Jr., Viktor Sukhorukov, Svetlana Pismichenko

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2014
FILMPHONICS presents King Kong and Live Score Screening FILMPHONICS presents King Kong and Live Score Screening
Goldfrapp Tales Of Us performance & screening Details of Goldfrapp 's unique Tales Of Us performance & screening event 4 March 2014
EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 EE British Academy Film Awards 2014

So pared down and salt of the earth that it completely charmed me whilst undermining all expectations of excessive over the top crime tales we have come to expect. The Brother screening was part of an Alexei Balabanov Retrospective being hosted by Rossica Academia's Russky London Kino Klub.

Academia Rossica is a London-based charity organisation involved in bringing contemporary Russian culture to an English speaking audiences and bridging our cultures.  They regularly host cultural events exhibiting the best and most interesting of Russian film, literature, art, and food, including the annual Russian Film Festival.

Their latest event the Russky London Kino Klub launched on the 1 February has taken up residency in the prestigious Mayfair Hotel to screen previews of new releases, much loved classics as well as the UK's very first Alexei Balabanov Retrospective! Other films shown on the day were Yolki 3 & The Girl and Death.

Aleksey Balabanov is Russia’s most-iconic post-Soviet film director; to watch his films is to know Russia. A filmmaker for the people, Balabanov burst onto the cinema scene in the early nineties. His work is curiously ambiguous; contrasting light and dark, good and evil, liberty and constraint. Beyond their often grim actualities, his films have an immense sense of freedom, his characters seek redemption. His films transcend the realities of their post-Soviet setting to reveal deeper, universal truths about the individual and morality. In its contrasts and contradictions, Balabanov's work is quintessentially Russian, infused with the rebellious Ural Rock music of Sverdlovsk, where he was born in 1959. His work has been shown at some of the world's most prominent festivals: Venice, Cannes, Rotterdam, Montreal.

Rossica Academia's Russky London Kino Klub

Academia Rossica is delighted to present the first UK retrospective of Alexei Balabanov’s work from the years 1997-2012. The nine most seminal films of this uncompromising, unflinching director will be shown at the May Fair Hotel Theatre starting from 1 February through to May.

Films will be shown at The May Fair Hotel Theatre (Stratton Street, Mayfair W1J 8LT) on 1, 9, 23 February, 9, 16, 23 March, 6 & 20 April, 11 & 25 May
A man of many faces to the Russian film scene, he has been labelled a marginal aesthetic, the Russian Tarantino, the master of noir, the ‘new left’ revanchist, the nationalist-conservative, the xenophobe, the champion of the people, the first commercial director, the victim of the twin tragedies of illness and alcohol, the damned poet expressing himself in transgression, the provocateur writing totalitarian texts with an anti-totalitarian promise, the dark and cynical romantic, the patriot enslaved by national myths, the European bound by the rules of political correctness, he is no less than Lars von Trier, the despairing God-seeker, the divine poet sent by the devil. He is a cinematographer through and through, no less than Bonuel and John Ford.
- Film critic Andrey Plakhov on Balabanov
Films by Alexei Balabanov to be shown:

Brother (Brat) Poster
Brother (Brat) Poster
This iconic crime drama addresses the fundamental questions of morality through the eyes of an ex-soldier pulled into the criminal underground by his brother.

Video: Брат (трейлер) — Brother Trailer

Balabanov's fascinating and unapologetic examination of a curiously moral assassin is undoubtedly a seminal film in post-Soviet cinema. Raw and honest in its portrayal of the realities of the Russian Wild West, the film shattered the facade of New Russia, drawing in record audiences who wholeheartedly identified with the film's ambiguous hero and his on-screen dilemmas. This landmark film continues to shock and enthral audiences, even more than a decade after its release and was the obvious choice to start our retrospective.

Russia, 1997, crime drama, 100 min Directors: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Sergey Bodrov, Victor Sukhorukov

Of Freaks and Men (Pro Urodov I Lyudey) Poster
Of Freaks and Men (Pro Urodov I Lyudey) Poster
Differing vastly from the bruising realism of the Brother films is Of Freaks and Men (1998), this is an idiosyncratic take on the pioneers of film and photographic pornography in Saint Petersburg in the early 1900s.

Video: FILMS YOU SHOULD SEE: OF FREAKS AND MEN. Aleksey Balabanov Trailer

“Every director has only one good film. Mine is Of Freaks and Men’’, Balabanov told Esquire Magazine, expressing his own infatuation with this aesthetically stunning sepia film.

 Russia, 1998, comic drama, 97 min Director: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Sergey Makovetskiy, Dinara Drukarova, Anzhelika Nevolina

Brother 2 (Brat 2) Poster
Brother 2 (Brat 2) Poster
The sequel, which follows the protagonist Danila Bagrov to the US, was also an immense hit in Russia, where audiences enjoyed seeing the Russian cast as the hero in contrast to America's anti-Soviet cinema.

Video: трэйлер Брат 2 - Brother 2 Trailer

 Russia, 2000, crime thriller, 122 min Director: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Sergey Bodrov, Victor Sukhorukov

War (Voyna) Poster
War (Voyna) Poster
War is a politically uncompromising action drama which, through examining the Chechen War, looks at the broader, centuries-old question of Russia’s relationship with the Caucasus and Europe.

Video: War Trailer - Война - трейлер Voyna

Russia, 2002, action, 120 min Director: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Aleksey Chadov, Ian Kelly, Ingeborga Dapkunaite

Morphine (Morfiy) Poster
Morphine (Morfiy) Poster
A loose adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s early autobiographical stories, this film also draws heavily on a contemporary film theme of addiction.

Video: Morphine Trailer - Морфий - трейлер

The script was originally written by Sergei Bodrov before his death in 2002.

 Russia, 2008, drama, 110 min Director: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Leonid Bichevin, Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Andrey Panin

It Doesn't Hurt Me (Mne Ne Bolno) Poster
It Doesn't Hurt Me (Mne Ne Bolno) Poster
A deeply touching and tragic love story looking at life and love in modern, urban Russia; not dissimilar to Remarque's 'Three Comrades', the film combines friendship, humour, love and suffering to create a vivid chemistry

Video: It Doesn't Hurt Me Trailer

Russia, 2006, drama/romance, 100 min Director: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Renata Litvinova, Aleksandr Yatsenko, Dmitriy Dyuzhev

Cargo 200 (Gruz 200) Poster
Cargo 200 (Gruz 200) Poster
CARGO 200 (GRUZ 200)
The title is taken from the code name for the bodies of the fallen Soviet soldiers shipped back from Afghanistan.

Video: Cargo 200 Trailer

Using grotesque imagery reflecting the reality of Soviet life in 1984, the film is shot in the muted colours of Soviet cinema, Balabanov wrings some grim amusement from a group of pathological characters, led by a sadistic police chief.

 Russia, 2007, thriller, 89 min Director: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Agniya Kuznetsova, Aleksey Poluyan, Leonid Gromov

The Stoker (Kochegar) Poster
The Stoker (Kochegar) Poster
The Stoker kindly allows gangsters to use his furnace as a convenient way to discard of inconvenient corpses.

Video: The Stoker - Trailer

The film is one of Balabanov's most savagely sardonic and entertaining examinations of Russian society.

Russia, 2010, crime drama, 87 min Director: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Mikhail Skryabin, Yuriy Matveev, Aleksandr Mosin

Me Too (Ya Tozhe Khochu) Poster
Me Too (Ya Tozhe Khochu) Poster
A dark comic drama following a motley crew of characters seeking truth and fulfilment.

Video: Me Too - trailer

The film speaks of Balabanov's cynical view of modern Russia and a crumbling European civilisation.

Russia, 2012, drama, 83 min Director: Alexei Balabanov Cast: Oleg Garkusha, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Yuriy Matveev

For more information and tickets visit:


Wanna fight?
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime. 

A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 

  Follow The Establishing Shot on Twitter Visit The Establishing Shot on Facebook The Establishing Shot on Google Plus The Establishing Shot on Letterboxd Contact The Establishing Shot


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Follow The Establishing Shot on Twitter Visit The Establishing Shot on Flickr Visit The Establishing Shot Channel on ouTube Read The Establishing Shot on Flipboard view the establishing shot's RSS Fees Visit The Establishing Shot on Facebook The Establishing Shot on Google Plus The Establishing Shot on Pinterest The Establishing Shot on Letterboxd Contact The Establishing Shot

On the RADAR


I really enjoyed Johannes Roberts' gripping & taut shark attack thrill ride 47 Metres Down - FILM REVIEW

Christopher Nolan & Emma Thomas introduce their modern classic DUNKIRK and answer some questions about DUNKIRK - EVENT REPORT

The Game of Thrones: Touring Exhibition is coming to London - UPCOMING EXHIBITION

I visit the BT Tower for the riveting Fear The Walking Dead Season 3 pre-premiere launch - EVENT REPORT

In Cinemas this week


The 2017 EE BAFTA Nominations announced

Matthew McConaughey introduces GOLD and tells us a little bit about the film

xXx: Return of Xander Cage European Premiere EVENT REPORT
Richard Kelly talks the Making of Donnie Darko
Alex Zane Presents the FDA Autumn/Winter Film Preview & chats with Tom Conti
The Light Between The Oceans Press Conference
De Palma Review
Prop Store Auction Preview Exhibition
Idris Elba suprises us at Star Trek Beyond
The Nice Guys Surprise Us
Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review
10 Criminally underrated British Crime Films you probably haven't seen yet
Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Batmobile
In discussion the making of Triple 9
Deadpool Film Review
Quentin Tarantino talks The Hateful Eight
Star Wars Visions Exhibition Tokyo
SalonQP 2015 Preview
The Rogues Gallery Creation of a Super Villian Book Launch
Legend Press Conference
SPECTRE all the news
No Escape Review
Ant-Man Euoropean Press Conference
Batman: Arkham Knight Cape & Cowl Exhibition London
Ant-Man Willard Wigan Micro Exhibition
Unheard James Bond Themes
Peyton Reed & Paul Rudd introduce Marvel's Ant-Man
Knight of Cups Trailer Breakdown

Latest Film & TV News

Latest reviews:

Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review
Triple 9 Review
Deadpool Film Review
The Hateful Eight Review
Legend Review
No Escape Review
Mr. Holmes Review
The Grandmaster Review
Dawn of The Planet of The Apes Review
The Drop Film Review
300: Rise of an Empire
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

Craig Says...

Edith Bowman may read The Establishing Shot

Legend of the East End Exhibition

135 Bethnal Green Rd,E2,
28 Aug - 11 Sep 2015
the alibi film club

The Alibi Cult Film Club

The Alibi ,Dalston, E8 2PB
Every Mon

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London The Making of Harry Potter

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London The Making of Harry Potter

Harry Potter Tour

WB Studios, Leavesden
April 2014+

Bond in Motion Exhibition

Bond in Motion at London Film Museum

Bond in Motion London

London Film Museum
21 March 2014+

TheEstShot Listening To:

Craig's Awesome Mix