August 25th, 2009


Le Weekend - Russian style

Last weekend was grand. OK, so Australia lost the Ashes (well done, England!), but I could at least console myself with the All Black victory in the Bledisloe (points to icon) while my Aussie friends had to make do with a Socceroos win over Ireland (3-0 though, way to go!).

I didn't watch any of it, strange as it may sound. Instead, Saturday night a group of us went into Sydney to the "Russian Resurrection" film festival at the Chauvel in Paddington. A lovely meal at the Bavarian Beer Cafe near Fox Studios, followed by a brisk walk up the road to the cinema, possibly the best popcorn in Sydney (especially good 'cos most of it was nicked from my friend's bucket), choc top icecream, movie, and afterwards pancakes and Jamaican coffee. Mmmmm....

We saw one of the retrospective films, "Prisoner of the Caucasus" (or "Kidnapping, Causassian style") from 1967. It's a broad comedy, with lots of slapstick humour, involving an intelligent but goofy and very naive ethnographer, Shurik, who goes to the Caucasus to investigate local culture. "Customs, rituals... and toasts!" (as Shurik never drinks, you can imagine what this leads to). Shurik meets a lovely girl, Nina, "a student, an athlete, a Young Communist... and a beauty", and falls in love. Unfortunately a corrupt local official wants to marry her and involves Shurik in his plotting under the guise of furthering his research. Very cheesy, but also wonderfully funny, and Nina is gorgeous.

Here's a couple of clips from the movie. I love the first most of all. Nina sings a song, "pesnia o medvediah" which talks about polar bears, how they rub their backs against the North Pole and make the world spin faster so lovers can meet sooner:

And here Nina, who is by far the smartest person in the movie, attempts to escape from her captors:

Great fun!