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One of the best Russian films ever, cult classic for me
This is one of my favorite films, and a film that when i watched it for the first time put me in awe of it. It is about a young girl, Lena, who lives with her father, who is a scientist, at Baikal Lake in Russia, which is a wonder of nature. They have lived there together her whole life and they are very close. But, a new plant is getting built on the lake and they are against it because it will dirty the lake. The genius Vasily Shuckshin is in this film as a worker in that plant, who is somewhat against it himself though feels powerless at first to stop it.
This film is not like other films, the story is told in a very original way. Sometimes the mood is hypnotic and poetic, at other times there is no mood at all and it is like we are truly watching real life, these are my favorite parts of the film. Gerasimov's films have such good scripts and dialog, and this one is perhaps his best, it's my favorite of his. The film is narrated by Lena, sometimes she looks into the camera and talks to us like we've just met. The editing is genius too, it's like we are in the girl's mind as she recalls various memories. Her life is built up for us out of flashbacks while she talks directly to us, but then just as fast her father comes home and she turns away from us and we are no longer in the room with her but have become spectators to their lives. This film has some themes of communism. Lena says to Shuckshin "Communism is beauty and purity, do you at least agree with that", to which he says he does. Though it is not that simple as Shuckshin says later. There is a glorious scene where Lena reads a Blok poem in the library that is made up of books her ancestors have built up. There are many more characters, I can't list them all here.
This film is true beauty with incredible realistic thought running though it. The story is truly an interesting one, there are tons of great scenes and the way it's shot is absolutely original, since it is about man and his enviorment, the camera does just that, it focuses on the people and their surroundings. To me the film is really about the girl's life and secondarily about the problem of Lake Baikal. 10/10, one of my absolute favorite films, see it if you get a chance, it's a cult classic for me for sure.
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