Koshei is the ultimate villain in most Russian fairy tales. Here, he becomes a hero.

Russia’s Top Movies: Fall, 2021

Published: December 2, 2021

This year was particularly hard for the Russian film industry. However, it seems to be showing signs of life again. While none of the following films come close the takes that Russian movies had before the pandemic, they are beginning to offer hope that the industry can recover. The following movies were all released between September and November of 2021.

Кощей. Начало – Koshei: The Beginning – $1,843,839

Koshei the Undying is one of the most powerful and feared characters in Russian folklore. This cartoon places him in the hero’s seat for a favorable look at his origins. Here, a motorcycle-driving Koshei takes on The White Ghost, a world-destroying monster who has come to a Russian province to wreak havoc. This is the first full-length film from Russian animation studio Paravoz, and is based on thier popular TV cartoon series Fairy Patrol.

Небо – Sky – $1,512,204

A partially fictionalized account of real events, this film follows Lieutenant Colonel Soshnikov after his plan is shot down by a Turkish fighter jet over Syria in 2015. This was a high-profile news event, particularly in Russia at the time. The film was shot with support from Russia’s Ministry of Defense.

Небесная команда – Heaven’s Team – $813,311

This historical sports drama was released on the tenth anniversary of a plane crash that killed the entire Lokomotiv Yarslavl hockey team (except for one player who did not board the plane). The tale is told from the point of view of the local fans who had traveled to Minsk to the see the game the team should have played there.

Дракулов – The Draculas – $761,045

This comedic romp is “almost based” on the classic story of Dracula. In Tsarist Russia, the lawyer Pyotr Smirnov arrives at the gloomy estate of the mysterious Count Drakulov, whose ancestors come from distant Transylvania, to complete the purchase of a house in Moscow. When the count notices a photograph of Peter’s bride, young Varya, he knows he must have her. To protect his bride, Smirnov must escape Drakulov’s ghoulish seductresses and other foes… and along the way meets Vasya, the son of the famous professor Van Helsing.

Соври мне правду – Lie to Me the Truth – $683,646

In this psychological thriller, a young couple go on a retreat. However, when the woman’s younger sister and former boyfriend show up, love turn to passion and flirting turns into dangerous games.

Петровы в гриппе. Petrov’s Flu – $473,438

Petrov is an auto mechanic in post-Soviet Yekaterinburg. He is separated from his wife, a librarian, and together they have a son. Just before the start of the new year, his family gets sick with the flu. Then he meets a trickster named Igor who can mix the world of the living and the dead. The Petrov family begin to suffer surrealistic hallucinations and the line between reality and hallucination begins to disappear. (from Wikipedia)


Bonus: Нас других не будет – We Will Never Be Again – $77,619

This documentary details the life and work of Sergei Bodrov Jr., the star of the cult-classic Brother movies.


Ледяной демон – Ice Demon – $51,799

Her father went missing when she was just 10. Now, 10 years later, he is found, frozen for a decade in the mountains – but somehow still alive and in a strange coma. Her mother has long since remarried, but the father is brought into the house to be cared for. However, the father, it seems, is not alone. The demon he carries soon starts affecting the people around the now-young woman…

About the author

Josh Wilson

Josh has lived in Moscow since 2003, when he first arrived to study Russian with SRAS. He holds an M.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in History from Idaho State University, where his masters thesis was written on the political economy of Soviet-era censorship organs affecting the stage. At SRAS, Josh assists in program development and leads our Home and Abroad Programs. He is also the editor-in-chief for the SRAS newsletter, the SRAS Family of Sites, and Vestnik. He has previously served as Communications Director to Bellerage Alinga and has served as a consultant or translator to several businesses and organizations with interests in Russia.

Program attended: SRAS Staff Member

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