1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
eyingfanyi from United States
17 February 2014
Nobody remembers this movie any more. I'm not even sure that it ever
played in any English speaking theaters; I can't find English subtitles
for it anywhere. But this movie is a gem.
A story involving an orphan - a common figure in Soviet movies; the
Soviet Union had two big generations of orphans, one from the
revolution and the civil war and another from World War II. This orphan
has been adopted by a well-to-do family in Leningrad and is just
finishing college when she finds out that her mother is still alive.
The mother is a peasant in a small village who wants to see her
daughter. This provides the dramatic setting, with a number of subplots
The two leads, the ballerina-like Lyudmila Marchenko as the orphan and
Valentin Zubkov, with his military, masculine persona, as a village
official, are shipshape, but the best acting in the movie is provided
in two major supporting roles by Vera Kuznetsova, very typically cast
as the mother, underplaying a part that could easily descend into
bathos, and Nonna Mardyukova as a peasant woman who has a variety of
personal demons to deal with.
With the cinematography of Pyotr Katayev, which tells a moving, lyrical
tale, effectively using darkness and morning mist in this black and
white film in a way that makes you fall in love with the Russian
countryside and that sometimes reveals much more about what's going on
in the story than the actual action on the screen, and a superb, lush
musical score by Yuri Biryukov, you'll wonder why the rarefied,
art-house produce of the likes of Tarkovsky and Kalatozov got so much
attention by comparison.
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