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Siberiade (1979)
"Sibiriada" (original title)

 -  Drama | History | War  -  16 May 1980 (Finland)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,237 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 6 critic

The story about a very small god-forgotten village in Siberia reflects the history of Russia from the beginning of the century till early 80s. Three generations try to find the land of ... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aleksei Ustyuzhanin
Vitali Solomin ...
Nikolai Ustyuzhanin
Sergey Shakurov ...
Spiridon Solomin
Natalya Andreychenko ...
Anastasia Solomina
Lyudmila Gurchenko ...
Older Taya Solomina
Vladimir Samoylov ...
Afanasi Ustyuzhanin
Yevgeni Perov ...
Yerofei Solomin
Mikhail Kononov ...
Rodion Klimentov
Konstantin Grigorev ...
Geologist Guryev
Nikolai Skorobogatov ...
Pavel Kadochnikov ...
Eternal Grandfather
Elena Koreneva ...
Younger Taya Solomina
Dmitriy Buzylyov-Kretso ...
Mitya (as Dmitriy Buzylyov)
Evgeniy Leonov-Gladyshev ...
Alesha Ustyuzhanin (as Yevgeni Leonov)
Ivan Dmitriev ...


The story about a very small god-forgotten village in Siberia reflects the history of Russia from the beginning of the century till early 80s. Three generations try to find the land of happiness and to give it to the people. One builds the road through taiga to the star over horizon, the second 'build communism' and the third searches for oil. The oil is found but the destruction of the old cemetry and everything the people of the village cared for followed to get the 'black treasure' of Siberia. Written by Konstantin Dlutskii <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The history of Russia from the beginning of the century till early 80s. [Korean DVD.]


Drama | History | War


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Release Date:

16 May 1980 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Siberiade  »

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Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


The boom mic is visible for less than a second in the top left corner at roughly 1:29:11, when Alexei is talking to the elder grandfather, and the grandfather stands up and begins chanting at him. See more »


Edited from Mountain Vigil (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

A wild explosion of pure cinema
10 March 2010 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Konchalovsky's towering poem to Siberia doesn't steamroll ahead, though it's 4,5 hours long. It holds back for space, takes time in roundabout exploration of childhood memories in a turn-of-the-century backwoods village, yet it picks up steam doing this, builds in emotional resonance as though even the sounds and images which compose it become imbued by sheer association with their subject matter with that quality of fierce tireless quiet dignity that characterizes the Soviet working spirit. Konchalovsky celebrates Soviet collectivity but in an almost revisionist way to paeans like Soy Cuba and Invincible the mood turns somber and reflective.

So eventually the Revolution, the one thought to matter. News of it reach the secluded Siberian village only through the grapevine. Worse with the fruits of its labor, these reach the village only when a world war calls for the young men to enlist.

But although the scope appears huge and daunting, Konchalovksy zeroes in on the individual, the face behind the history; with care and affection to examine the bitter longing and regret of the woman who waited 6 years after the war for a fiancé who never came back, waited long enough to go out and become a barmaid in a ship with velvet couches and which she quit years later to come back to her village to care for an aging uncle who killed the fiancé's father with an axe, the irreverent folly of the fiancé who came back from the war a hero 20 years too late, came back not for the sake of the girl he left behind but to drill oil for the motherland, the despair and resignation of the middle-aged Regional Party Leader who comes back to his small Siberian village with the sole purpose of blotting it out of the map to build a power plant.

The movie segues from decade to decade from the 10's to the 80's with amazing newsreel footage trailing Soviet history from the revolution to war famine and the titanic technological achievements of an empire (terrific visuals here! pure futurism of kinetic violence and skewed angles and flickering cramped shots of crowds and faces) but the actual movie focuses on the individual, on triumphs and follies small and big. By the second half a sense of bittersweet fatalism creeps in; of broken lives that never reached fulfillment choking with regret and yearning. "It can't matter", seems like the world is saying, to which Konchalovksy answers "it must matter" because the protagonists keep on trying for redemption.

Yet behind this saga of 'man against landscape' something seems to hover, shadowy, almost substanceless, like the Eternal Old Man hermit who appears in every segment to guide or repudiate the protagonists, sometimes a mere spectactor, sometimes the enigmatic sage; a little behind and above all the other straightforward and logical incomprehensible ultimatums challenges and affirmations of the human characters, something invisible seems to lurk. Ghosts of the fathers appearing in sepia dreams, repeated shots of a star gleaming in the nightsky, a curious bear, indeed the Eternal Old Man himself; Konchalovksy calls for awe and reverence before a mystical land of some other order.

In its treatment of a small backwoods community struggling against nature progress and time and in the ways it learns to deal with them, often funny bizarre and tragic at the same time, and in how the director never allows cynicism to override his humanism, it reminds me of Shohei Imamura's The Profound Desires of the Gods. When, in a dream scene, Alexei tears through the planks of a door on which is plastered a propaganda poster of Stalin to reach out at his (dead) father as he vanishes in the fog, the movie hints at the betrayal of the Soviet Dream, or better yet, at all the things lost in the revolution, this betrayal made more explicit in the film's fiery denouement.

The amazing visuals, elegiac and somber with a raw naturalist edge, help seal the deal. By the end of it, an oil derric erupts in flames and the movie erupts in a wild explosion of pure cinema.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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