Russia, 1936: revolutionary hero Colonel Kotov is spending an idyllic summer in his dacha with his young wife and six-year-old daughter Nadia and other assorted family and friends. Things ... See full summary »
Douglas is a foreign entrepreneur, who ventures to Russia in 1885 with dreams of selling a new, experimental steam-driven timber harvester in the wilds of Siberia. Jane is his assistant, ... See full summary »
Epic film about WWII, a sequel to Burnt by the Sun (1994). Evil Stalin is terrorizing people of Russia while the Nazis are advancing. Russian officer Kotov, who miraculously survived the ... See full summary »
Early in the 20th century, family and friends gather at the country estate of a general's widow, Anna Petrovna. Sofia, the new wife of Anna's step-son, recognizes Misha, the brother-in-law ... See full summary »
The shepherd Gombo lives with his wife, three children and grandmother in a tent on the Mongolian steppe. They are pleased with their rustic conditions, until a Russian truck driver, ... See full summary »
Third film based on Boris Akunin's "Priklucheniya Erasta Petrovicha Fandorina" series of novels. On a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow general Khrapov was killed and no one else but ... See full summary »
The final part of Mikhalkov's trilogy about Divisional Commander Kotov finds him returning home during World War II having been betrayed, narrowly escaped execution for treason and nearly ... See full summary »
A loose remake of 12 Angry Men (1957), set in a Russian school. 12 jurors are struggling to decide the fate of a Chechen teenager who allegedly killed his Russian stepfather who took the teenager to live with him in Moscow during the Chechen War in which teenager lost his parents. The jurors: a racist taxi-driver, a suspicious doctor, a vacillating TV producer, a Holocaust survivor, a flamboyant musician, a cemetery manager, and others represent the fragmented society of modern day Russia. A stray bird (a touch of New Age cinema) is flying above the jurors' heads, alluding to tolerance. Written by
Jury plays god to a man, Mikhalkov plays god to a jury
The movie is bipolar. The upsides: great performances by many great actors; a view that the movie provides into the minds of contemporary Russians; and watching 12 post-post-Soviet (yet born and raised Soviet) people engaged in the a very Western activity, where their universal human feelings are intermixed with ways of thinking and arguing that are skewed by the history and problems of Russian society. Having characters give monologues in a single-room setting works very well for the theatrically-trained actors. Also, the discussion of society's problems and human responsibilities is refreshingly serious, in a big contrast to most post-Soviet expression, which tends to be extremely cynical (as argued quiet well by Efremov's character).
Downsides: certain characters are shallow caricatures clearly used to express Mikhalkov's personal tastes; way too many stretches in the plot; and the ending/punchline. Mikhalkov turns everything on its head in the end, very unconvincingly trying to argue that "freedom is slavery" and negating any civic benefit that the movie could have. This argument is basically a restatement of his political goals, most recently expressed off-screen by an open letter to Putin in the name of "all Russian artists" begging him to stay another term. Ironically, the argument is presented so weakly and crudely that Mikhalkov ends up shooting himself in a foot.
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