Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
White Sun of the Desert
White Sun of the Desert is arguably the best loved Russian film of all time, or certainly one of the most popular. Its blend of action, comedy, music and drama have made it wildly successful and achieved the status of cult film in Soviet and Russian culture. The film has contributed many sayings to the Russian language, for which see below. Its main theme tune, Your Excellency Lady Luck (Ваше благородие, госпожа Удача, music: Isaak Schwarz , lyrics: Bulat Okudzhava) became a huge hit for decades. The film was ritually watched by cosmonauts before many space launches.
The scenarists published the book under the same title. A Russian computer game was released based on the film.
The setting is the shores of the Caspian Sea where the Red Army soldier Fyodor Sukhov has been fighting the Civil War in Russian Asia for a number of years. After being hospitalised and then demobbed, he sets off home to see his wife, only to be caught up in a fight in the desert between a Red Army cavalry unit and 'Basmachi' rebels. Sukhov ends up having to guard and protect the harem of the Basmachi guerilla leader Abdullah, as his army comrades pursue him. The task proves to be much more difficult than he originally thought, and in between attacks from Basmachis and offers from the harem (who now consider him their husband), Sukhov must deal with Vereshchagin, a drunken former Imperial Russian customs official who still looks after the trading outpost and museum they shelter in...
Many popular sayings have entered the Russian language from the film. The first, is by far the best known.
- The East is a subtle matter (-- "a delicate matter" in the subtitles of the English version (Восток — дело тонкое;)), which is used to refer to any complicated or difficult matter, not necessarily "eastern" in nature!
- Customs says "OK"! ("Таможня дает добро!"), which is used to refer to any type of approval, especially reluctant approval.
- Their grenades are of wrong system ("У них гранаты не той системы") which is used to refer to any kind of excuse, particularly a pathetic one.
Raisa Kurkina (Раиса Куркина, Sukhov's wife), Anatoly Kuznetsov (Анатолий Кузнецов, as Sukhov), Spartak Mishulin (Спартак Мишулин, as Ahmed), Pavel Luspekayev (as Vereshchagin), Kakhi Kavsadze (Кахи Кавсадзе, as Abdullah), Tatiana Fedotova (Gulchatai), Tatiana Denisova (also Gulchatai), Nikolai Godovikov (Николай Годовиков, as Petrukha)
- Film director: Vladimir Motyl (Владимир Мотыль)
- Cinematographer: Eduard Rozovsky (Эдуард Розовский)
- Produced by Experimental Studio of Mosfilm
- Screenwriters: Valentin Yezhov (Валентин Ежов) and Rustam Ibragimbekov (Рустам Ибрагимбеков)
- Music by Isaak Schwarz (song lyrics by Bulat Okudzhava).
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