Belorusskiy vokzal (1971)
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After the enormous accomplishment of winning the war against a very determined and better prepared enemy, Russians finally lost the peace - - this is something we all know by now. But in 1971 it was not foreseen by most people, so this is quite surprising to see, how clearly "Belorussian Railway Station" knew and has shown it all. It depicts quite clearly, how doomed the Soviet economy was, due to the unbelievable levels of incompetence among leaders (big and small) and a very inflexible bureaucracy, powers even war heroes could not overcome.
Well, this is old news and "Vokzal" is very slow, even by 1970s standard. But if you have the necessary patience and you can enjoy a theatrical play, it is worth seeing once for the great acting. All the five protagonists are very good, although Safonov is strangely underused. (The other three males are characterized in detail, therefore I feel he should have been, too. I really wonder why his personal background is missing, was that part censored or simply cut out because the film turned out to be too long?) Leonov is clearly the best, as usual, and Nina Urgant managed to be unforgettable, lovely and very authentic, although her role was kind of auxiliary, her character less elaborate than the others.
The film missed, in my opinion, some opportunities: more Okudzhava songs, for example. (He wrote some great ones about soldiers not finding their places in peace.) And there is a view, a dangerous tunnel with rotting pipes under a peacefully sleeping housing estate, that could have been much more memorable, highly symbolic and maybe even one of the great moments of cinema, if cinematography would have been great and not only adequate.