In 1953, the year Stalin died, many prisoners (some political, but mostly common criminals) were released from the Soviet Gulags. This is the story of a remote settlement which was under attack by a bunch of these recently-released blood-thirsty thugs in the summer of 1953, and the townspeople, along with a two political prisoners, who try to stop them. Written by
Many said in their comments that this movie is sort of an action movie about good guys shooting bad guys. To me, this perception totally misses the idea of the movie. This film is absolutely not about shooting and action, even though there is plenty of it. It is about many things. It is about physical and more importantly deep psychological suffering of people who lived in exile during Stalin/Soviet repressions.
This film shows in a dramatic way lives of two people and their families being ruined buy the System. The film portrays two examples (out of millions) of one person who's gone through pain of World War II and one of a dedicated scientists who found themselves been thrown to a jail and their hopes broken at times when they were at their peak in life. Then they found themselves existing for many long and cold years in Siberian exile watching their lives slipping away from them.
Another important point of the film is showing the entire generations of people (with very few exceptions) being brainwashed and molded the way that state wanted them to be. At the same time the cynical nature of the system itself is also portrayed in many neat and subtle ways.
This film is like a book were you need to read between the lines, here you need to see behind the image. To me, being grown up in Soviet Union
it comes naturally in this case and the film grips me with its drama
for its entire length having a very moving ending. But probably if you are not fluent in CCCP history and you don't know for example who Beria was, what the laws were like during cult of personality, what was the Belarussian front in World War II, who was Ordzhonikidze - without such little things and many others the film will be either very hard to follow (in this case it probably becomes sort of pretentious art house stile flick) or you just miss it completely and it is going to be just an aged action movie. Well watch it if you can, but it is 9 out of 10 from me.
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