Ben Zimmer sent me a link to this Wall Street Journal article by Kristin M. Jones about a wonderful development for lovers of Russian and Soviet film:

On April 26 Mosfilm announced a partnership with YouTube allowing viewers to watch a substantial number of landmark movies from the studio’s collection in their entirety.

Karen Shakhnazarov, Mosfilm’s general director and also a filmmaker, producer and screenwriter, released a statement saying in part: “For us the project with YouTube is very important and interesting. The aim is to offer users the possibility to view online legal quality video content and prevent illegal use of our films.” Fifty titles were initially made available, and five more are being uploaded each week; by the end of the year, Mosfilm aims to have uploaded more than 200 movies to Mosfilm’s YouTube channel ( Many are subtitled. According to Youri Hazanov, who handles YouTube partnerships for Central and Eastern Europe, the deal followed YouTube’s standard partnership arrangement; YouTube will sell advertising on the channel and share the revenue with Mosfilm. …

The array of movies viewers can explore includes not only masterworks by Tarkovsky, such as his complex, dreamlike meditation on memory, “The Mirror” (1974), but also comedies, live-action and animated fantasy films, musicals, melodramas and action and adventure films.

I can enthusiastically recommend The Mirror myself, and there are a bunch of other movies there that I either love and want to see again or have been wanting to see (like Девять дней одного года, “Nine days of one year”). Here‘s the direct link to the site; enjoy! (I should point out that Karen, in Shakhnazarov’s name, is masculine; it’s an old Armenian name. I believe it’s an Armenianized form of the Arabic name Karim ‘generous.’)


  1. I think it predates the Arab invasions by almost a millenium, Karens were an Armenian-Parthian princely clan.

  2. Bob Violence says

    Good news indeed, almost makes up for their ongoing refusal to issue Blu-rays of their remastered titles…except for Shakhnazarov’s films, naturally.

  3. Thanks, MOCKBA—I’ve corrected the post accordingly.

  4. I find it remarkably difficult to ignore the subtitles. Too bad they are encoded directly into the video and cannot be turned off using the YouTube closed captioning controls. Nonetheless, this is a wonderful development.

  5. it might be worth mentioning that the stress in Karen is on E.
    I was wondering why so many Mosfilm derived clips on youtube are being relentlessly expurgated, even though some are short quotes and others had original add-ons.

  6. narrowmargin says

    Which one is “The Mirror”? I don’t read Russian and some of the titles aren’t translated.

  7. Зеркало.

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