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Ovsyanki
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Reviews & Ratings for
Silent Souls More at IMDbPro »Ovsyanki (original title)

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41 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

People have forgotten their ancient "sacred words" and their psyche is constantly changing, but there are moments that remind us who we are and who we once were.

10/10
Author: meisterjaan from Estonia
3 December 2010

I saw this film 8 hours ago on a big screen and I'm still spelled.

The camera work was very precise and poetic just as the structure of the story line and acting. This movie is very slow, yet very intense. Every scene generates so much thought in the viewer and leaves room for imagination, so that after the first few scenes my mind was swinging in the shamanic rhythm of the movie. I actually saw some older people lightly dandling themselves in that rhythm.

It's much more than just a story of a nation that is disappearing. It is a story of all the human culture and the mortality of it. The mortality of our beloved paradigms. Yet this film looked at life from the brighter side. Everything disappears, but so what? Nothing lasts, but nothing is lost.

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23 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Culturally interesting film

Author: PeteK26 from Finland
16 November 2011

This was a fairly interesting movie.

Just to correct errors in two of the previous reviews above: this is not a Scandinavian movie, but Russian. It is not located in remote Northern Scandinavia, either, but in central Russia, and thus actually quite far from Scandinavia. Although the movie tells about traditions of a people ethnically related to Finns, there is really nothing in the movie that would resemble anything in Scandinavia. These Meryan people merged with Slavs about a thousand years ago, and their own language disappeared in the 16th century. Apparently some of their ancient customs still live, if this movie is to be believed.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Road Movie unlike any other.

9/10
Author: Martin Bradley (MOscarbradley@aol.com) from Derry, Ireland
12 September 2013

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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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A road movie that moves

Author: fanbaz-549-872209
13 August 2014

Every now and then a director has a script and a set of performers who work with a single ambition. To do the very best possible. This film is perfection. There are times when the symbolism is a inch a way from breaking into reality but it never does, The sense of place and the the feelings evoked by a man who must take his dearly beloved wife, who has just died, to the place where they spent their honeymoon to place her on a funeral pile is relentlessly aching. There is a genuine purity about the feelings, some of which are extremely sexually explicit. In one flashback, we see the husband massaging his wife's leg while she plays with herself. The husband has a friend who shares the miles to the spot where the wife will burn, next to a vast river. Has he also loved this woman? Tanya. Did others? Flashbacks are seen in real time with no attempt to break the mood with tenses. It is one of the most poetic films ever made and ten stars are not enough.

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3 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Paganism and Nihilism

5/10
Author: Bear Mac Mathun from Australia
3 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From the outset the film is slow and looking for tension: the camera work achieves the mood very well. The shots of the Volga are beautiful.

A man's wife dies, and he calls a friend to help bring her body to the lake where they had their honeymoon and to burn her body on the lake in their ancestral tradition.

The real drawback of the film is the dialogue - nobody speaks like that!!! The dialogue is strained and extremely formal - so much so that it is comical - which loses the pace and tension. This is unfortunate, since the film otherwise communicates very well the brutality of the ancient pagan world view.

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8 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Rites and passions

7/10
Author: Pascal Zinken (LazySod) from Maastricht, The Netherlands
18 April 2011

Somewhere up north in Scandinavia a young woman dies. Her husband wants to cremate her, following the rites of the land he lives in. One of his workers comes with him and together they start on a road trip through life itself.

A short introduction is used to define the world of the film - a desolate town in the middle of nowhere that is filled to the rim with people that follow a somewhat strange set of rites and rulings, but that are perfectly happy with them. The main theme in their life is a large river that flows through their country and that is more or less the base of their lives.

As it starts rolling it is mostly just two players working their ways around each other, portraying their odd lives with perfection. The story is amazing, the way they go through it is maddening and reminding of a lot of other strange road trips. The Straight Story and Cargo 200 come to mind. It has some fleeting moments where the pace drops to a stand still though and thus it isn't entirely satisfactory. It's good, but not very good.

7 out of 10 bottles of vodka

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5 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

typical festival

7/10
Author: Roman Pokrovskij
7 November 2010

Started as typical Iranian movie, then forget to gain the momentum and after express straying finished as typical Scandinavian movie. It seems like an attempt to create the film about instinct tribe in the instinct or spoofed film-making tradition. But I think I can explain it's festival popularity. Since those talks about sex are still considered as ambiguous and vulgar, "Sex in the city" have no perspective as festival movie, but when you have filmed the tribe that have such age-old tradition, and this tradition is also packed into sacramental funeral ritual, you get an highest level indulgence and also you can redistribute this indulgence between all those highbrowed festival critics. I want that the story would be continued and the Russian "central region" get such get deep developed mythology. More better then hobbit village in the NZ.

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