Classic Russian Films On YouTube

How’s your command of Russian, or at least of the Cyrillic alphabet?

If you’re capable, with those, you could instantly be well on your way to watching 50 of the Russian film company Mosfilm’s finest productions, thanks to its ongoing efforts to make its gems freely available on the Mosfilm YouTube channel. By year’s end, some 200 Mosfilm classics will be up, with more added every week, according to a company announcement.

Tarkovsky’s unparalleled Andrei Rublev (a 205-minute film about a 15th-century icon painter and church-bell maker) is up, as is The White Sun Of The Desert, an adventure story set in Central Asia that cosmonauts commonly watch before they jet into space. And, while titles and directions are in Russian, the vast majority of the films have subtitles – in what language depends on where they are called up.

Karen Shakhnazarov, director of Mosfilm, said in a statement on the studio’s web site: “The aim is to give users the possibility to legally watch high-quality video material and prevent the illegal use of our films.” Mosfilm and YouTube have cooperated to remove pirated versions of Mosfilm productions from the site.

The channel has had almost one million views since it started early in May 2011. The YouTube postings supplements one function on Mosfilm’s own web site: free downloads of 582 of its films, with subtitles in different languages; the site also permits downloads for a small fee.

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