7.1/10
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1 user 1 critic

Landscape (2003)

Peyzazh (original title)
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16 October 2003 (Germany)  »

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Landscape  »

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Russian reality revisited
12 January 2005 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at DocPoint, a documentary film festival in Helsinki. It begins with slow, 360 grade pans of a camera showing snowy countryside somewhere in Russia. The soundtrack has some natural voices.

The camera then is set at a bus stop in a Russian village. It continues to pan into the same direction, showing people waiting, talking to each other, drinking beer, staring, giving an occasional glance at the camera. The soundtrack is clearly from a different source than the pictures, but similar to the world of images. It has elderly people talking about their hard everyday life: sicknesses, alcoholism, dire poverty, violent drunken husbands, poor hospitals etc. etc. The voices curse, argue...

The people start gradually crowd into a full bus, they get in, and the buses leave.

All in all, even if the subject matter is gloomy and realistic, the film is a beautiful one. The continuous camera movement is hypnotic. The people at the village bus stop are actually beautiful to watch... they remain calm, and the contrast between voices on the soundtrack and the images is fantastic.

Also, the images remind me from some old Brueghel paintings, first with landscapes, empty and snowy, then people crammed up close together. The film is done with a calm, peaceful pace.


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