On the sound track there is "throat singing" at the point where the action shifts from the city to the Altai region. Also, later, authentic images and sounds of a shaman dancing, singing, and beating a drum to heal a sick woman. See more »
Perhaps the most underrated masterpiece of Russian cinema.
Odna (Alone) was not blacklisted but heavily criticized by the Soviet authorities. Much of the picture is not in favour with the politics of the first Five Year Plans. A young teacher (marvellously played by Yelena Kuzmina) is eager to build up a life of her own, happily united with her husband (Pyotr Sobolevsky, incidentally Kuzmina's real life husband). However the Ministry of Education (the official reminiscent of Lenin's widow Krupskaya) sends her off to the Altai Mountains in Russian Mongolia, to provide basic education for the youngest children of the Altai shepherds. Once in the desolate frozen mountain area she begins building a school. The male population particularly is against it. All Kuzmina's attempts to educate the children are obstructed and the local soviet leader is a lazy corrupt burocrate! Kuzmina is abducted and left alone in the snow far from the little village. She is rescued by a little plane and brought back to her beloved Leningrad, promising the children that she will return to do her job. Odna was designed as a silent film. When it was about to be released sound film was introduced in the USSR. Shostakovich wrote a dazzling score for Odna, which also received some lines of dialogue. The picture is based on contrasts: between the safe haven of modern Leningrad, and life in the middle of a frozen nowhere. Between education and the poverty of non-education. Between progress and medieval backwardness. The drama was inspired by a small newspaper article about a young woman in the middle of nowhere being rescued by an air-plane crew.
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