Reading on Russia Roundup #50

Instructions for Everything: Gadol’s Director. Instructions for Liberation (Lizok’s Bookshelf)

Alexandr Gadol’s Режиссёр: инструкция освобождения (Director. Instructions for Liberation; please note that this title and transliteration of the author’s name are on the book’s cover) turned out to be an interestingly pleasant surprise from start to finish. I was surprised when a colleague from the Institute of Translation who’d been deputized as a book courier handed the book to me in New York earlier this month and even more surprised at the novel’s unexpected layers and twists, and how they affected me.

Госрегулирование продовольственного рынка: за и против (VTsIOM)

Россияне не готовы мириться со снижением качества продуктов ради понижения цен, показывают данные ежедневного опроса «ВЦИОМ-Спутник».

Less TV, more conservative (Irrussianality)

The fact that young Russians don’t watch as much TV as older generations doesn’t mean that they are compensating by accessing political news on the internet, let along accessing ‘liberal’ or ‘pro-Western’ news sources. They aren’t. Instead, they just aren’t accessing political news at all!

Andrey Zvyagintsev – Loveless (Russian Film)

“Loveless,” the title of the compelling and forbidding new movie by the Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev (“Leviathan,” “Elena”), seems, for a while, to refer to the state of the relationship between the film’s two main characters, a Moscow couple who are on the verge of divorcing. Boris (Alexey Rozin), bearded and officious, a kind of mildly saddened Teddy bear, and Zhenya (Maryana Spivak), beautiful and knife-edged, with a buried despair of her own, still live together in the same apartment. But they’re trying to sell it off as quickly as possible, because they can barely come up with three words of civility between them.

The Curse of the Murdered Prince Dmitry of Uglich (Nicholas Kotar)

Several episodes in Russian history are so fanciful that they read like novels. One of the more mysterious and interesting is the so-called “curse of Prince Dmitry.” This past Sunday, the Orthodox Church celebrated his memory as a “passion-bearer”—someone killed unjustly, who by his innocent suffering, emulated Christ’s own sacrificial death.

Джей Эшер — 13 причин почему (BookGeek.ru)

Пост в формате блиц-обзор представляет: книга жанра YA (young adult) о том, как после самоубийства одноклассницы главный герой узнаёт, почему она это сделала из оставленных ею аудиозаписей.

Я начала смотреть одноимённый сериал на Нетфликсе, но потом вспомнила, что была вроде книга с таким же названием.

Неписаный кодекс книжного ботана гласит: прежде чем посмотреть экранизацию, прочитай книгу! После того, как я всю неделю читала исторический нон фикшн о Холокосте, YA пошёл легко и Эшера я прочитала за вечер. «13 причин почему» довольно популярна, по понятным причинам. Ханна, та самая одноклассница, переживает все типичные проблемы американских школьников. Каждая из проблем потихоньку подталкивает её к необратимому и радикальному выходу (который, конечно, не выход). Каждую из этих проблем она описала и записала свой рассказ на аудиокассеты. Помните такие?

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4 comments

  1. When I read about “modern internationally acclaimed Russian cinema” my hand reaches for facepalm.

    Russian Film blog author demonstrates by the personal example of bravely reposting reviews on the films she didn’t watch, what is the most important for any shy and conscientious intelligent – to live not by a lie. Take this paragraph:

    “There have always been oppressive societies that clamp down on filmmaking, but allow just enough wiggle room of expression for a shrewd — and poetic — artist to say what’s on his mind. That was true in the Communist Czechoslovakia of the 1970s, or in the Iran of the last 30 years. It’s true, as well, of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. As a filmmaker, Andrey Zvyagintsev can’t come right out and declare, in bright sharp colors, the full corruption of his society, but he can make a movie like “Leviathan,” which took the spiritual temperature of a middle-class Russia lost in booze and betrayal, and he can make one like “Loveless,” which takes an ominous, reverberating look not at the politics of Russia but at the crisis of empathy at the culture’s core.”

    “Filmmaker” (sorry for the word “filmmaker” that I have to repeat here) Zvyagintsev is so oppressed and unfree in “Putin’s Russia” ™, that he, actually, penned his (in)famous “Open Letter” devoted just a little bit than entirely to whining, begging of money, denouncing of the “Regime” and furious handshaking of another member of the creative class – Konstantin Raykin, after his last year’s hissy fit.

    Zvyagintsev wrote, among other half-witted things:

    “Looking at the body of freely flowing product of a free mind, the viewer sees in it, as in reflection, himself, free and unhindered, because, as you know, an artist can not fail to sing a song that waits the expression on the lips of his own people (rus. “которая немотствует [sic!] на устах его народа”). The government, instead, encourages the mediocre, dull lie about the person, and fills with it the screens of TV and cinema. Thus they are driving away the person from himself, real and complex. That’s what the “state order” [in culture] really means”

    Wow. How… handshakable. It should be written on the back of “A Tear of Kreakl” brand of vodka.

    I don’t understand what the phrase “full corruption of his society” means when talking about Russia. That Russia is shit, that people here are some sort of Orcs and nothing good is possible? The same old propaganda piece popular in the West since times immemorial? That’s why you, dearies, give various international prizes to the likes of Zvyagintsev – the shittier picture they provide you, the more it to your liking?

    I’m Russian. I don’t know where Zvyagintsev saw a “full corruption”. Maybe, in his own, oppositionist-urbanite society of Russophobic parasites? They can be full shit, that’s a yes.

    I don’t understand two thing:

    1) Is the author of the review so ignorant of the life of Russian people to believe such shit-flicks like “Нелюбовь”?

    2) Does the author has any bloody idea about how the funding of the movies (and culture in general) happed in the USSR and happens now in Russia?

    Oh, and one more thing, dear pretentious after of the review. Work on your language. Try to learn the meaning of the words you use. “A forceful and deliberate socialist-realist Hitchcockian style that recalls the most celebrated films of the Romanian new wave” is just a word salad meaning exactly nothing, but with pretentions of the hipster fresh from the vegan bar.

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  2. Addendum:
    When Intelligence Isn’t (Patrick Armstrong)

    Intelligence is quite difficult. I like the analogy of trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle when you don’t know what the picture is supposed to be, you don’t know how many pieces the puzzle has and you’re not sure that the pieces that you have are actually from the same puzzle. Let us say, for example, that you intercept a phonecall in which the Leader of Country X is telling one of his flunkeys to do something. Surely that’s a gold standard? Well, not if the Leader knew you were listening (and how would you know if he did?); nor if he’s someone who changes his mind often. There are very few certainties in the business and many many opportunities for getting it wrong.

    Russia Roundup – May 2017 (Street Russian)

    Also, need some nightmare fuel?

    It’s the eyes on the far right statuette…they’re looking right at me…

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    • On the topic of the “Putin’s merchandise” – hey, kids! Do you want to… cut… Mr. Putin?


      ^VVP looks how you work

      As for the “intelligence” question, well:

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  3. Breaking news! Concerning a thing often mentioned in previous Russia Roundups.

    A Black Day of Russian Durnalistica (“democratic journalism”) finally graced our street!

    Evgenia Markovna Albatz has to close down her Free and Democratic Magazine. People didn’t appreciate it – the paper is too rough.

    “I honestly don’t see is as a problem if Russia would divide itself right across Ural mountains. It’s inevitable, I think”.

    Invisible Hand of the Market didn’t help her. Obviously – Russian people proved themselves too backward to appreciate her desire to see This Country’s collapse.

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