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The Cuckoo (2002)
"Kukushka" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, War, Comedy  |  12 September 2002 (Russia)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 5,855 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 56 user | 44 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

September of 1944, a few days before Finland went out of the Second World War. A chained to a rock Finnish sniper-kamikadze Veikko managed to set himself free. Ivan, a captain of the Soviet... See full summary »

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Title: The Cuckoo (2002)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Veikko (as Ville Khaapasalo)
Viktor Bychkov ...
Mikhail Korobochkin
Aleksei Kashnikov
Denis Aksyonov
Aleksei Panzheyev
Aleksandr Kuykka
Vladimir Matveev
Aleksandr Zubkin
Vladimir Knysh
Sergei Antonov
Valeri Yakovlev
Sergei Berzin
Aleksandr Melnikov
Edit

Storyline

September of 1944, a few days before Finland went out of the Second World War. A chained to a rock Finnish sniper-kamikadze Veikko managed to set himself free. Ivan, a captain of the Soviet Army, arrested by the Front Secret Police 'Smersh', has a narrow escape. They are soldiers of the two enemy armies. A Lapp woman Anni gives a shelter to both of them at her farm. For Anni they are not enemies, but just men. Written by Sony Classics Site

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She's Making Peace One Man at a Time.

Genres:

Drama | War | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

12 September 2002 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

Gjøken  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,473 (USA) (11 July 2003)

Gross:

$243,187 (USA) (14 November 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the two actors, Veikko and Ivan, were in the sauna exchanging their life stories, Ivan told Veikko about a former female colleague/friend marrying a horrible man named Viktor Bychkov - which is the name of the actor playing Psholty/Ivan in real life. Probably a deliberate humorous effect by the director. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, the Russian jeep with Ivan as a prisoner on it is seen moving on a straight road and at low speed. However, the driver of the jeep makes abrupt steering movements which is incoherent with the path of the jeep shown. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A film of transcendent beauty
15 December 2003 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Somewhere in the forests of Northern Europe during the closing days of World War II, Finnish support for the Nazi cause is nearing an end. Veiko (Ville Haapsalo), a Finnish soldier has lost his will to fight. Forced to wear an SS uniform by his unit, he is chained to a rock and ordered to kill as many Russians as he can before one will eventually kill him. He is known as a "cuckoo", a sniper on a suicide mission. Set in an area rarely seen: Lapland, The Cuckoo (Kukushka), directed by Aleksandre Rogozhkin, is a touching Russian comedy about the failure to communicate. Its seamless mixture of earthy humor, anti-war sentiment, and otherworldly Lapp mysticism is enhanced by strong performances, especially from Anni-Kristina Juuso, who portrays a spunky but radiant young Reindeer farmer who has not seen a man in four years since her husband went to war and left her widowed.

Using his ingenuity and every resource at his command, Veiko manages to free himself after a protracted struggle that takes up a good half-hour of the film. Meanwhile, a few miles away, a Russian captain, Ivan (Viktor Bychkov) escapes while being taken by Soviet military police to be court-martialed for anti-Soviet sentiments. Circumstances bring all three together at a log outpost where Anni (Anni-Kristina Juuso) lives alone, sleeping in wooden tepees with log doorflaps. She gives them shelter and nurses them back to health but no one understands the other's language (the dialogue is in Finnish, Russian, and Saami, the language of Lapland). This leads to many confusing situations such as when Ivan tells them to "get lost" and they mistakenly think he is telling them that his name is Gerlost. Ivan wants to kill Veiko who tries to tell him that all he wants is peace, invoking the names of Tolstoy (War and Peace) and Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms).

In this Tower of Babel, the three can only reach each other through tone of voice, hand gestures, and body language, but Anni has no trouble convincing the men that she has "an aching below the tummy". Though Veiko is mistakenly thought to be a fascist since he still wears a German uniform, the three gradually form a bond based on mutual need and a common humanity. The Cuckoo is a gorgeously photographed and emotionally resonant film that is more than an anti-war fable; it is a film of transcendent beauty that directly touches the soul.


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