Mosfilm is worth a visit for all Soviet and Russian film buffs. It displays legendary cars from popular films, authentic costumes and stage sets, professional make-up as well as motion-picture and photographic equipment. The museum is located on the vast premises of the Mosfilm Cinema Concern in the west of Moscow. The museum is only available to visit on guided tours, which are offered to both individuals and groups (an appointment must be made in advance). These tours are about 1.5 hours long.
Mosfilm’s premises are the largest in Europe – no other film studio in the Old World boasts a floor space of 34.5 ha. It comprises 15 roofed filming floors and 3 locations for outdoor shooting. The film studio was set up in 1924 and still has buildings dating from the early 1930s. The Golden Oldies of Soviet and Russian cinema were shot here, giving the museum a special atmosphere.
The Mosfilm Museum occupies a free-standing building located by the entrance to the premises. A visit to the museum is only part of the tour. Visitors also visit the filming floor, sets of Saint-Petersburg and Old Moscow, and the automated models from the film ‘Viy’ (1967) . Under no circumstances will you be able to have a sneak peek of the real-life shooting process, as tours are not scheduled when filming is underway.
Over a half of the museum space is occupied by a display of retro vehicles (including cars, motor-cycles, bicycles, and vans), and all tours start by exploring this area. All exhibits come from famous films like ‘Watch out for the Automobile’, ‘Three Poplars in Plyushchikha’, ‘The Diamond Arm’, ‘The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed’, ‘Moscow does not Believe in Tears’, ‘A Driver for Vera’ and so on. Cinema connoisseurs will be interested to see these living legends of the film industry. All cars on display are kept in driving condition at all times, and any one of them can be driven straight to a new film set at any time.
From the retro car garage, visitors move on to the hall where coaches, costumes, and film sets are kept. Here you can see authentic and restored horse-drawn carriages from the 19th century: a landau, a horse cab, a sledge and some others. All of these appeared in famous films like ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Anna Karenina’. Large arrangements of exhibits are dedicated to scenes from such films as ‘Poisons, or the World History of Poisoning’ (2001) and ‘Andersen. Life without Love’ (2006). It is always a significant, and often sad, moment when film sets are dismantled at the end of shooting, but some of these are lucky enough to be granted a longer life whilst on display in the museum. The final hall of the Mosfilm Museum is dedicated to the art of grease painting. Here, you can see masks from films like ‘Viy’, ‘The Master and Margarita’, ‘The White Tiger’ as well as plaster casts of some famous Soviet and Russian actors’ and actresses’ faces.
From the building of the Mosfilm Museum, you will visit the open-air space with sets of Saint-Petersburg and Old Moscow. This is probably the most interesting and spectacular part of the tour. The sets of Saint-Petersburg were built specially for the ‘Anna Karenina’ (2017) film by Karen Shakhnazarov. The action novel takes place in both Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, but the actors, rather than travelling from one city to the next, merely had to move from one part of the set to another. Cardboard boxes, empty inside, serve as buildings on the set. However, the impression they make is amazing – they are made so skilfully that even when you are standing beside them, it’s impossible to believe that they aren’t real. You really do get the sense that you have travelled a hundred years back in time. It is only when you turn the corner of a house that you can see that it is only a model.
The tour then continues in the main building, where you see the filming floor. It was here that the ball scene was shot in ‘Anna Karenina’. Reminiscent of this classic scene are the magnificent chandeliers, which were lit up with hundreds of candles during shooting. Further on, guests are ushered into the hall with an interior set (an Orthodox church). The walls are made of wood and plaster cast while the icon frames are plastic, but they look just like the traditional wooden ones.
The tour finishes with a live performance of manipulated models from the famous film ‘Viy’ (1967). It is interesting to see how the scene with the revived pani (i.e. a Ukrainian girl) and Viy was shot. The window-cases display costumes from ‘Anna Karenina’ (2017), ‘Kidnapping, Caucasian Style’ (1967).
At the end of the tour, you can have a light meal in the Mosfilm cafeteria. There is a small souvenir shop close by.
If you grew up outside Russia, you might like to find out some facts about the history of Soviet and Russian cinema and get acquainted with the films shot in this studio. The Mosfilm website features a page with a collection of films produced under the Mosfilm label. There is also a selection of films with English subtitles on the website: http://cinema.mosfilm.ru/films/comp/Polnometrazhnye/films-with-english-subs/ All the films are available to be viewed for free.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com