If you still struggle to feel that winter magic in the air – we get you! And no, cliches are not our cup of tea either, but, well, some things are simply classics, you can’t skip them. So, here are two filmed performances of The Nutcracker as seen at the Mariinsky: your impeccable box standard and your slightly Miyazaki-esque version reimagined by Chemiakin (yes, this is an oldie). This combo is sure to make great company for a stay-at-home weekend.  

Guerra Cinema

Cinemaholics, rejoice! Here is your chance to watch films created in collaboration with Tonino Guerra, an internationally renowned Italian poet, novelist, and screenwriter – on the big screen and free of charge. On Saturday, December 12, there is Three Brothers (dir. Francesco Rosi, 8 pm) based on a story by Andrei Platonov and set in the Italian countryside in troubled times for one family and the whole country. Then, on Sunday, December 13, you will have the chance to watch The Dust of Time (dir. Theo Angelopoulos, 8:30 pm), the second film in an unfinished trilogy telling the story of A. (played by Willem Dafoe), an American screenwriter from 1953 to our time. We’ll only note that you have to register in advance by calling the studio at +7 911 991 25 02. All films will be screened in their original language with Russian subtitles. 

Russia-Italia Film Festival

Continuing from last week, here is this weekend’s program of the annual Russia-Italia International Film Festival. On Saturday, December 12, there are three shows: The Legend of the Christmas Witch (2:45 pm), a Christmas adventure about a school teacher who turns into a good-willed witch at night; Stolen Days (4:35 pm), a roadmovie centered on a son getting to know his father after a life spent apart; and Fellini’s last film The Voice of the Moon (6:50 pm), a story of a sleepwalker who opens the wonders of darkness to all who know him. On Sunday, December 13, there is another film trio: The Best Years (12 pm), a grand narrative that follows four friends over 40 years of their lives, a take on what modern Italy stands for; Fellini’s third film I Vitelloni (The Bullocks, 2:35 pm), set in a small town in after-war Italy where five young men decide to beat it and look for a change; and, to mark the ending of the festival, Once Upon a Time...in Bethlehem (4:50 pm), a comedy in which two very different people are brought back to the times of the first-ever Christmas. Note that all films will be screened in their original language with Russian subtitles. 

Russian Natural Reserves open-air exhibition 

  • December 1 - January 31, 6 am - 10 pm
  • Yelagin Island
  • Free Mon-Thu, 100 rubles Fri-Sun (paid at the park’s entrance; student discounts available)

We all wish we traveled more this year, right? But while that is still sadly unavailable and highly discouraged, there is a great opportunity to see some of Russia’s breath-taking natural reserves captured on film and safely exhibited outdoors at one of St. Petersburg’s wonderful parks. Accept this invitation from the Russian Geographical Society and discover yet more proof of the greatness of our planet!

As a bonus and just in case you’ve missed it, check out our list of open-air ice rinks in St. Pete together with some handy advice on how to get ready for your first ice-skating experience.