Russia’s Top Russian Movies: May 2017

Published: June 9, 2017

Internship in RussiaLike in 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 it is also capable of producing films that can occasionally compete locally with the American machine. Once a month, SRAS provides a lineup of the top Russian movies in Russia that ranked in the top 10 for weekend box-office take.


Большой – Bolshoi Ballet – $3.5 million as of May 28, 2017

Yulia Olshanskaya is a young and extraordinarily talented dancer from a small mining town. She happens to be noticed by a former dancer for the Bolshoi troupe. With his help, Yulia is brought into the Bolshoi’s training program. However, to become the diamond she dreams of being, she will first undergo enormous pressure. She will duel with more privileged students and with her strict and capricious teacher. She will learn that being a ballerina is not just glamour and elegance – it is hard work, humility, honor, and self-control. In the end, however, no one can stopped who dreams big.

Время первых – The Age of Pioneers – $9.7 million as of May 28, 2017

It’s the 1960s and the height of the Cold War. In the space race with the US, the USSR is ahead, but both are racing to a next step: the first country to successfully perform a spacewalk. The USSR develops the technology first, but two weeks before the official take off, the test ship explodes during final testing. The government decides to move forward with the actual launch anyway to ensure their lead. Military pilot Pavel Belyaev and his partner Alexei Leonov are chosen to pilot the flight. Nearly everything that could went wrong…

The film was, in part, produced by Timur Bekmambetov, who has had large success in Russia (Nochnoi Dozor) and abroad (Wanted, 2008, starring Angelina Jolie). It garnered some controversy – from communists for showing Soviet leaders recklessly pushing the program forward and it coming together almost by chance, as well as from liberals who disliked the large amount of government support it received (school children were given free showings and, it was said, the Russian premier of Fast and Furious 7 was postponed by government authorities to allow the film to premier with less competition. It was released with an official English title: The Age of Pioneers. It also sometimes is referenced as “The Spacewalker.” The original Russian name would literally translate to “Time of Firsts.”


Кухня. Последняя битва – Kitchen. The Final Battle – 4.5 million as of May 28, 2017

This is a equal to a 2014 film, Кухня в Париже, which itself was developed from a popular TV show, Кухня (The Kitchen). The collection revolves around an absurdly diverse and eccentric group of cooks from Russia who end up taking the global culinary culture by storm. In this installment, Ivan, who is actually a skilled hacker who is wanted by Russian authorities for hacking the Ministry of Defense website, meets French beauty Anna with an explosive temper and Russian roots. They have both arrived in Sochi to take part in the Culinary World Championships: She is competing for France, and he – for Russia. Juggling the police and his new love interest and completion, Ivan also still needs to understand his relationship with his long-lost dad – celebrity chef Viktorom Barinovym, earn the trust of his culinary super-team, and even help the TV presenter Dmitriyu Nagievu escape from a mountain village in Abkhazia, where he was forced to marry.


Урфин Джюс и его деревянные солдаты – Urfin Jus and his Wooden Soldiers – 3.7 million as of May 28, 2017

This Russian animated feature takes place in Oz. It’s based on a 1963 novel by Soviet writer A. M. Volkova and, while it also contains the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Woodsman, it is considered not directly based on original L. Frank Baum novels. In this tale, the treacherous and wicked Oorfene Deuce has decided to become ruler of Oz by conquering it with the help of his soldiers. As he is about to plan a victory celebration, he is defeated by a young girl, Ellie, who happen to get lost and end up in Oz at the right time. She saves the day, despite her need to return home quickly.

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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