Christmas Trees 3 / Ёлки 3

Christmas Trees 3 (Ёлки 3; also called Eight Degrees of Celebration in English) is the third in the Christmas Trees (Ёлки) series, released in 2013. Like the other two films, it tells various stories of various people throughout Russia, all united by the fact that it is New Year’s Eve. Boris and Evgeniy, two of the main characters, return in the third film, and several directors from the previous film returned for this one, as well. A spinoff of the film, Shaggy Christmas Trees (Ёлки лохматые), featuring the two dogs from this film as the main characters, was released in 2015.

This film, in keeping with the feel-good spirit of the others, is about the concept of the “boomerang of good”—sort of a version of karma or the pay-it-forward effect, where if something good happens to a person, she must in turn do something nice for someone else; and if she does something good for someone else, she will sometime later have something nice done for her. A young woman named Vika has even created a social-networking group called “Boomerang of Good.” After a tragedy befalls people she knows, though, she stops believing in the effect. It is only after a long sequence of events that centers on the fate of two dogs, Yoko and Pirate, that the boomerang returns.

The film did not receive quite as glowing reviews as its predecessor had, but it was massively successful at the box office. The reviewer from Ruskino simply thought that the film made no sense and was particularly unimpressed by the fact that the love story in this film was between two dogs, a huge mongrel (the male dog in the film, though in the grand tradition of Russian cross-dressing, played by a female dog) and a small, dainty cavalier King Charles spaniel (played by a male dog). Yet Film.ru countered by saying that the film struck a satisfying balance between humor and tragedy—“without which … for a Russian, a holiday wouldn’t be a holiday.”

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Directors: Olga Kharina, Dmitry Kiselyov, Aleksandr Kott, Aleksandr Karpilovskiy, Levan Gabriadze, Anton Megerdichev, Yekaterina Telegina, Zaur Zaseev
Stars: Ivan Urgant, Sergey Svetlakov, Pyotr Fyodorov, Anna Chipovskaya, Valeriya Strelyaeva, Vera Strokova, and others
Production company: Bazelevs Productions
Box office take: $38 million

Official trailer:

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Christmas Trees 3 / Ёлки 3

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.