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Russian Films

Russia's Top Five Movies
For February, 2011

Like most places in the world, Russia's silver screens are dominated by Hollywood's global blockbusters. Russia's film industry has struggled with the financial crisis, but is also still capable of occasionally putting out a film that can compete locally with the American machine. Once a month, SRAS provides a lineup of the top five movies in Russia by box office take - with the official Russian-language trailers from YouTube and, for those Russian films on the list, additional commentary taken from the Russian Modern Film page of our Library.


1. «Выкрутасы » - Vykrutasy (Twists and Turns) - $9.9m

In Выкрутасы (which can be translated roughly as "Twists and Turns" or even "Capers" or "Antics"), a teacher of the Russian language from a little town visits Moscow with a newly-written, novel manuscript and meets successful young lady, Nadya (played by none other than Milla Jovovich!). The young people fall in love and decide to get married. Before the wedding, Slava must take a short trip to his hometown. The most bizarre circumstances hinder him from returning to his bride at the day of the wedding. You can apparently download this film via Itunes from the film's official site!


2. «Санктум» - Sanctum -$8.4m

The choice of the transliterated name here is interesting as Russian dictionaries do not contain the word "санктум." In Russian, it would translate as "святая святых" - or "Holy of Holies" and would refer specifically to the most holy part of a church, the area beyond the iconostasis. The English, of course, while having religious meaning is most often received as simply referring to a place offering spiritual solitude and peace. Perhaps because Russia is generally much more conservative on religious issues, and to avoid the direct reference (and yet keep the branding consistent), the distributors here have transliterated rather than translated the name. 


3.  «Зеленый шершень » - The Green Hornet -$6.5m

No surprises here - a direct translation of the English original.


4. «Гномео и Джульетта» - Gnomeo and Juliet  - $5m 

Also no surprises. This transliteration works in Russian because the name of Shakespeare's play is essentially the same in Russian (Ромео и Джульетта), transliterated with Juliet's name altered slightly to make it distinctly feminine. Also, the word for "gnome" is equivalent in Russian (гном), except for the fact that Russians pronounce the "g/г", as Russian does not have silent letters (and thinks it bewildering that English does!). 


5. «Орел девятого легиона » - The Eagle - $3.9m 

This film was widely released under the name "The Eagle." Perhaps because the eagle already has majestic and patriotic connotations in America, this simpler version is more effective. In Russia, however, they have chosen a name closer that of the original book, The Eagle of the Ninth (which is a variant of the name used in some other locations). In Russian, this would directly translate to "Орел девятого." The marketers have also given a nod to Russia's desire to generally be more precise and added the answer to the question "Орел девятого чего?"


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