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The world after the nuclear apocalypse. Pale light lits the scenery of total destruction. The surviving humans vegetate in wet cellars under the nuclear winter. But somehow human spirit still sees somewhere the dim light of a new and better future. The next generation starts the walk towards a new life. Written by
Jens Bertheau <email@example.com>
The filmmakers took great care to continuously remind their viewers that what they're seeing is not happening in the Soviet Union. To ensure this, a lot of foreign items have been placed in the backgrounds which surely immediately caught the eye of the contemporary viewer. There is not a single object with Cyrillic letters, but there are plenty with English ones. Many items are Western consumer goods which were rare in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Particular examples are beer cans and a bottle of Jagermeister on a desk. The weapons the soldiers wield are also not even resembling Soviet rifles which would've been familiar to all viewers who completed their military services. They look more like a strange "crossbreed" of American M-16 and M-1 rifles. The vehicle the soldiers are using is a MAZ missile trailer truck, but the same vehicle was also built for the civilian market and sold to many countries. The helicopter that shows up in one of the scenes is a Kamov Ka-26 which was never used by the Soviet military (and in fact only one Warsaw Pact country did, Hungary). The hovercraft that is seen turning and leaving is also not a (known) military vehicle, but anyone in the 1980s should've associated the image with the air-cushion ferries on the English Channel which were a famous and novel technical achievement at the time. See more »
This is a post-apocalyptic movie where a group of Russian intellectuals, living in the airtight vaults of a museum, cling on in the twilight, going slowly mad according to their own pompous wonts.
The movie is unremitting in its depressing depiction of a dead world. I was stuck between turning it off because it was almost sacrilegiously depressing, and remaining because of the sheer cataclysmic beauty. The images are mostly tinted yellow, although some shots are in tints of blue. There is no way this experience is going to allow you the respite of polychromatic images.
There is a body of work that deals with the end of humankind in cinema, but any example I can think of seems completely notional in conception, this one actually felt like a recording of the end of days, as unflinchingly profane as a documentary of viaticums.
I think it's also a tombstone for communism in Russia, suggested as a blind alley, and advocates a return to pre-revolutionary values regarding family and religion. But only in an intensely personal way, as if recounting the death of a close family member. It is more than a warning against nuclear war. In its parodying of ridiculous, pontificating, and obstructive authority, it's an emesis of authoritarian communism, a whole-hearted, wholesale rejection.
As an endnote, there's a dolly-out in the first few minutes of the film that left my jaw on the floor, practically the best shot I've ever seen in cinema, my congratulations to Konstantin Lopushansky and his team.
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