Two Russian soldiers, one battle-seasoned and the other barely into his boots and uniform, are taken prisoner by an anxious Islamic father from a remote village hoping to trade them for his captured son.
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The film is based on the second book from the Adventures of Erast Petrovich Fandorin series of novels written by the Russian author Boris Akunin. The film takes place in 1877 during the ... See full summary »
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Somewhere in Northern Russia in a small Russian Orthodox monastery lives an unusual man whose bizarre conduct confuses his fellow monks, while others who visit the island believe that the man has the power to heal, exorcise demons and foretell the future.
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In 1946, a soldier fathers a child then dies before its birth. Jump to 1952: on a train, the child and his mother meet a handsome soldier who makes a play for her. She accepts. Posing as a married family, the soldier finds them a rooming house where he becomes everyone's favorite through his good looks and generosity. Meanwhile he gives the boy, Sanya, lessons in life: to fight back, to win at all costs. The child's mother, Katya, is head-over-heels in love with Tolyan, the soldier, but the relationship becomes rocky when Tolyan's true plans for the rooming house become clear. It starts them on a treadmill of flight that risks Katya's life, Tolyan's liberty, and Sanya's trust. Written by
Sanya - 48 Years Old:
I was born right after the war, in 1946. My mother was going to the village where her relatives lived and gave birth to me right on the road. I never saw my father. He was covered with wounds when he returned from the war and died six months before I was born, but throughtout my childhood I kept thinking of him, trying to imagine him.
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This is one of the most ambitious films I have ever seen done; it is an extremely painful movie to watch in places, beautifully photographed, with understated direction that does not get in the way of the story.
A lot will be lost on the small screen, but if you enjoy foreign films (or films in general) you will not find a better one than this. If you are in the mood for lighthearted entertainment, do not rent this film; you will feel sad for a long time after it ends. (It is a Russian story, after all.) Images from the film are guaranteed to haunt for a long time; it reminds the viewer of the power film can have to affect an audience.
Nine stars for me.
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