Russian Films As a Language Resource

Russian Films As a Language Resource
05 December 2014

When I had just started learning Russian, I tried to think of ways that I could combine my pastime with my studies. I decided that the best way to do this was watch Russian films with subtitles, or films that I had already seen, but dubbed over in Russian. It is a great way of learning Russian and gives you an advanced set of skills that will help you when it comes to learning any language.

My Recommendations

Firstly, I recommend that you should watch famous films from the Soviet era, as well as more modern Russian films. There are some fantastic films (for comedy, I recommend ‘Иван Васильевич меняет профессию’, Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Profession, a Soviet farce). Another great Russian film is called ‘Ирония Судьбы’ (The Irony of Fate), a Soviet romantic story about the New Year. Watching these sort of films with subtitles (or without if you are brave enough) greatly enhance your ability to understand Russian in an everyday conversation, and will definitely improve your accent. I would recommend trying to learn phrases from the film which can be used in normal speech, and you will probably learn a bit of slang in the process!

The second way that I watch films in order to further my Russian skills is watch more world-renowned films in English with Russian subtitles (I recently watched the Hunger Games in this way). This may seem unusual, but it considerably helps my grammar and vocabulary learning. When I don’t understand a word in the Russian subtitles I wait until the corresponding English word is spoken and then write down in which context it is used. This is perhaps the least efficient way as sometimes the actual subtitled translation is not really similar to what is spoken in the film, but if you can tell that the translation is not the same as the spoken language in the film, then you are ready to move up a level!

Dubbed Films

The final, and in my opinion most useful for increasing your spoken and written Russian, is watching foreign films, or even your favourite films, dubbed over in Russian. These are readily available and are what you will witness when watching a film at the cinema in Russia. I watched Изчезнувшая (‘Gone Girl’)   at a Russian cinema, and although I did not quite understand the entire plot, it was incredibly useful and I learnt many new phrases and correct pronunciations because of the experience. You will also be able to find these sorts of films with Russian subtitles if it will help you, and as your ear improves you will notice that you read the subtitles less and less.

So, all in all, watching films in Russian greatly increases your ability to learn and speak Russian. You will witness your grammar improve, your knowledge of vocabulary expand, your speaking become more fluent and your sentence structure become more coherent. Just pick a film, find the Russian version, sit back and relax!

This post was brought to you by Alexander, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz

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