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Valeriya Gay Germanika
Clocking in at a very economical 78 minutes Aleksey Fedorchenko's "Silent Souls" is a remarkable and remarkably beautiful Russian film dealing with both grief and identity but in a manner that is both uplifting and almost surrealistically comic. It is the kind of film that Abbas Kiarostami might make or, in a much broader fashion, the Coens. The plot is both simple and minimalist. A man's wife has died and he wishes to take her body to be buried in the spot where they had spent their honeymoon, and in the custom of their race, but he does not want to involve the authorities so he enlists the help of a colleague, Aist, the film's narrator and its central character and it becomes a road movie unlike any other. Almost nothing happens and yet there is a great feeling that in the midst of death life goes on and that people continue to struggle for happiness at all costs. It's a melancholy subject but it isn't treated in a melancholy way. Little is actually said; these are indeed silent souls and what little story there is unfolds in almost totally visual terms and the cinematography of Mikhail Krichman is superb. An outstanding film that certainly doesn't deserve to get away.
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