Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Leonid Filatov, Anatoly A. Vasilyev, Yekaterina S. Vasilyeva, Alexandra Yakovleva, Irina Akulova
Director: Alexander Mitta
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
The first Soviet "disaster" film takes place at an airport where a passenger airplane has landed in the throes of an earthquake. With fiery lava erupting, buildings on fire and the ground giving way under everyone's feet, ... more »
It is not just another "disaster" movie.
sashka_k | San Diego, CA United States | 12/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie should not be viewed and advertised as simply another disaster flick. This is a story of several soviet pilots, their lives, families, relationships. The movie is an excellent reflection of a life of soviet middle class in the late 70s. All main characters are developed with brilliancy and depth. Story of pilot's divorce and later relations with estranged son is especially touching. The "disaster" part culminates the movie, showing main characters' behavior in extreme situation. It was surprisingly well made for that time (1979) and place. The crew flies to the rescue of soviet citizens in some remote part of the world after soviet-build refinery plant is hard hit by an earthquake and following fires and floods. Crew manages to bring the plane safely back home, despite mechanical damage and severe weather conditions. Overall performance of the cast is outstanding. Again, this movie is not as much a "disaster flick", but rather description of the lives of pilots who happened to be in "disaster" situation. The movie was one of the top ten among Soviet theatrical releases of all time. (71,1 million viewers)"
Russia's first western-style disaster film
Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 07/22/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Drama/Disaster. Basic plot: The crew of an air liner face death when they try to transport people out of a region hit by an earthquake. 4:3 fullscreen, good image quality (I'd rate it 7/10), very good 5.1 audio quality.This movie spends a lot of time on character development; in fact, the first hour is pretty much nothing but character interaction. Usually that's a good thing, and in this case it is but only to a certain extent. Some of the development here could have easily been discarded to make for a leaner, less cluttered narrative. The narrative itself has no scale of time - scenes might be minutes apart or months apart, and most of the time you can't tell which. Once we've learned a lot about the characters (pilot, co-pilot, and so on) and their lives, they are all brought together for one particular flight. This is a flight into an area hard hit by an earthquake and still suffering from heavy aftershocks. At this point the movie abruptly goes into disaster mode. Earthquake, volcano (there is a reference to "lava" but it looks more like floodwaters to me), exploding power plants, you get the idea. The effects are similar to the better ones seen in Japanese Godzilla films (i.e. decent but obvious miniature work, some of the shots better than others). There is some tension that builds up thanks to a few unusual and bold decisions made by the characters. Will they make it out of there and back home alive?There are some decent performances, but some of the characters and their actions are terribly frustrating, enough to make you want to talk back at the screen. It is necessary to keep the film's context in mind - made around 1980 (no CGI here), in Russia where films had to be approved by the state, probably without the latest and greatest cinematic innovations and technology at their disposal. But this is pure disaster melodrama ("cheese" if you like), with very few of the artful, meaningful aspirations of the brilliant Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky for example. Ultimately "Air Crew" is worth at least a look, but especially for Russian cinema fans. Runs 119 minutes (not 144)."
An exciting and surprisingly realistic Soviet disaster movie
R. Decker | San Francisco, CA United States | 04/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Much like the American "Airport" and "Airport 1975," "Air Crew" provides a look into the private lives of pilots and their loves who eventually have to deal with a jumbo jet disaster situation. You would think that in a movie from the Brezhnev years they would glamorize, for propaganda purposes, the lifestyles of Aeroflot pilots, but in fact the settings seemed fairly realistic -- all the characters live in fairly small apartments that look exactly like the ones you might have seen in Moscow 25 years ago, and the male leads have that sort of unironed look so distinctive of a society without French laundries. The disaster sequence -- an earthquake followed by a firestorm followed by a volcanic eruption -- is tremendously exciting. Photography, lighting, and performances are quite exceptional throughout. The 144 minutes go by very fast indeed."