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Came very close to opening in neurosurgery, from which depended the salvation of many people, the protagonist of the film (Peter) throws scientific work and his best friend and colleague of the experiment. Went to Sweden. After many years of dissatisfaction compels him to drop everything and go back to Moscow, where he was not welcome and do not take in the scientific community, and the best friend refuses to help, despite the pleas of his wife Petra. Numerous meetings with different people does not help him to find the courage and overcome yourself. He never returned to the once abandoned scientific work. Written by
Its one of my semi-serious habits to refer to certain filmmakers individual films as their 'new wave' film. This is because a filmmaker who had been known for directing moody black and white pieces heavy on the philosophy will suddenly produce a film in color with eclairage, cinematically self conscious, dealing with love and relationships, with a quiet,blusey jazz or pop music track, and always in a very contemporary milieu, one that takes material sufficiency for granted. One can look at the careers of certain classic Japanese director's, Kon Ishikowa for example, and suddenly see a film like Ai futatabi (To Love Again) 1971 and exclaim- 'Ah, his new wave film'.
Of course within the very limited oeuvre of Larissa Shepitko it may be a little extreme to declare TY I YI her new wave film but even within her run of work it stands out as sort of the odd man. TY I YI also has the distinction of linking Shepiko's work to Kieslowski making her a link between the three Slavic master filmmakers of the late 20th century as some of her other work links up with Tarkowski (particularly THE ASCENT).
TY I YI concerns two damaged men, both surgeons, one bitter, the other lost. Though similar their cases are very distinct, the effects on their personalities are different, their self therapies are different, and, most importantly, their cures are different.
One man is a brilliant neuro-surgeon, widely regarded as a genius, who has taken a glamorous but useless job as physician in the Soviet embassy in Stockholm. His relationship with a Swedish woman has broken up and he has returned to the SU. There is a Soviet vs. Sweden ice hockey game and Shepitko shows a very casual acceptance of Europe (Beatles type music in Siberia)and in this was very prophetic. Soviet man is, above all, a European.
He returns to Russia and reconnects with his colleague with whom he has an intimacy which can best be described as Lawrencian. The colleague is attracted to his friend's ex-wife and struggles against his instincts. She had been his girl friend before she married his best friend and his bitterness dominates whatever emotions he has that draw him to her. Every time he finds himself drawn closer to her he hardens and draws away, sometimes violently. His problem manifests itself as an ever thickening shell around his emotions.
The neuro-surgeon seems to be undergoing a total mental breakdown. His way of self-medicating is to run away. In a train station he sees a man running for a train (!) and impulsively joins him and jumps on the train. Just as impulsively he gets of the train at a country station where a beautiful woman in the doorway of a box car beckons him. The freight train is pulling out of the station and he jumps into the box car. It turns out that she is traveling with a whole group of people. They are going to a huge works project in the middle of Nowhere, Siberia. They are working on this huge project which consists of huge terraces cut into the side of a granite mountain. He stays a bit and is about to leave when he finds a woman who has blown her top and cut her veins because her feckless blonde boyfriend. He calms her down and repairs what he can. He sees a red cross on a medical evacuation plane (a large An-2 bi-plane on pontoons) and it clicks on his consciousness.
He becomes a doctor is this obscure and isolated region. One day, there in his waiting room, is a young woman who stands out as if a light was not only shinning on her but from her. With her head wrapped in a coif like bandage, she resembles a living icon.
With the vein cutter returned the doctor tries to strike up some sort of relationship. She senses that he wants to use gratitude as the basis and at first rejects him. He asks her if she remembers the first time she lied. She says she doesn't and he says neither does he, though as a doctor he has to lie all of the time, especially to terminal patients. But that day he, for the first time, told the truth when he should have told a lie. A young girl came in with a brain thrombosis and he had to tell her that she wouldn't live six months. The operation she needs hasn't been invented yet. For some reason he had to tell her. He had to be honest. One of the things he says to the vein cutter is that somewhere somebody needs us- that is true for you and I. Any hook up between him and her is problematic however.
He walks away and sees the forlorn young woman barely able to stand in her grief. He realizes that this is the person on this planet who needs him and his long and winding road of life has lead him to her. Life become clear to him in an instant. He is the only one qualified to operate.
For his friend finally coming to grips with his feelings (there is a spectacular coup d'theatre scene set in a circus ring) and accepting love is the cure which allows him to see his life clearly. If the film has a weakness its the girlfriend. She seems to have a bad case of the Mireille Darc's, wearing the same sub-Givenchy outfit of black patent leather and bright yellow beret. Though the actress is listed as being in her early 30's she looks like one of the older women who, in the 60s, looked so ridiculous trying to dress like the young. It is strange that, coming from the director of the most thorough and detailed portrait of a woman's inner life, the woman character is a virtual cipher.
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