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The film's story takes place in Moscow in the 1970s. Its plot unfolds around the love triangle between two young men and a girl who study at the same university. They argue, make up, and face their first disappointments and victories. While busy with personal lives and loves, they miss foreseeing that the country in which they were born and live will soon disappear from the map. Written by
I am Portuguese so, despite being born in the 80', i know a few things about a country trying to overcome its own memory. For those who don't know, Portugal was the late perpetrator in Europe of a fascist concept of "empire", a retro idea that stuck cultural life and true evolution for decades in some countries. It finished for us in the mid 70', but dealing with such a radical change of collective definition is something that drags to these days, watered by an upgrade in the Portuguese general living conditions, but still there.
Now i think the Soviet experiment was probably more radical and fundamentalist to its populations than the Latin European fascisms. And it lasted longer. So, dealing with the radical shift towards a forced "western democracy" approach is probably a painful process for the ex soviet territories, mostly the russians. That's the frame where i place this specific picture. I watched it as an exorcism of past phantoms, but also a blinking melancholic eye to those days.
The facts in the story, which is casual (it is here as a 'typical' repetitive case, in those days) all speak against what was happening in that regime in that context, but yet it avoids moralizing. No one is judged (unlike, for example, in "The lives of the others") and no one is innocent. It's a kind of approach that assumes that we must feel what was going on regardless of the upper political or power contexts that forged what we see. I accept that vision, i enjoyed it. The cinematic options here were fully coherent to what we saw, and from time to time i saw Tarkovsky here, who has much to do with how cinema bends memory. Nice to remember a social context, a certain youth i never got to know, and a certain kind of cinema that is sweet and sometimes (not this case) deep and life-altering.
My opinion: 3/5
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