The action takes place shortly after the end of the Second World War in the Siberian hinterland, among Russians and Germans with damaged personal stories and a strange transformation: the ... See full summary »
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The action takes place shortly after the end of the Second World War in the Siberian hinterland, among Russians and Germans with damaged personal stories and a strange transformation: the victors seem to be crawling into the skins of the defeated, and vice versa. Ignat, is the embodiment of the larger-than-life image of the Soviet victorious warrior who, in fact, proves to be shell-shocked, sick and broken, although not completely destroyed. Trains become fetish for the heroes of the film, and speed becomes a mania; they virtually become one with their steam engines, while the machines take on human names. The heroes set up an almost fatal race in the Siberian forest, risking their own lives and those of others. Written by
I saw this at the 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival. This was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Foreign Language Film category and was also Russia's official submission to the 83rd Academy Awards. From director Aleksei Uchitel and writer Aleksandr Gonorovsky, The Edge, which in Russian is Kray, meaning the end, was beautifully shot by cinematographer Yuri Klimenko with wonderful set staging by production designer Vera Zelinskaya. Essential to this film is the rapid fire sound by sound designer Krill Vasilenko and buffeted by a a great music soundtrack from Irish composer David Holmes. The story is set in the fall of 1945 at the close of WWII in a Siberian labor camp whose occupants harvest wood and produce charcoal to power the steam locomotives that traverse the Siberian wilderness. Ignat (Vladimir Mashkov) is a Russian war hero suffering from intense migraines who has been sent to the labor camp as a locomotive specialist. He starts up a relationship with Sofia (Yulia Peresild) by stealing her away from her fellow camp boyfriend. Ignat learns of a locomotive stranded in the woods and abandoned for years across the river. He hatches a plan to resurrect it to it's former glory in an anticipated race with his arch rival Major Fishman (Sergei Garmash) who is soon to replace the camps commander. While surveying the locomotive, Ignat encounters Elsa (Anjorka Strechel) a hostile German girl who has been living a feral life aboard the old train since the outbreak of the war. He soon enlists her help to free the locomotive and repair a bridge across the river and in doing so, becomes involved with her in a forbidden Russian-German love affair. It's been reported that writer Gornorovsky and director Uchitl collaborated on an astounding 100 rewrites to bring the script to film with rewrites going on as it was being filmed. It pays off in the final product. Filled with imagery such as the bear, the symbol of Russia, not Soviet Russia but Russia. In a metaphor, Russia the bear is eaten and stripped of it's hyde,cannibalized and crucified. The Edge is the edge of the world and the edge of human relations and human abilities. This is a powerful film like the locomotives it embraces and I would recommend it and give it a 9.0 out of 10.
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