June 1946: Stalin invites Russian emigres to return to the motherland. It's a trap: when a ship-load from France arrives in Odessa, only a physician and his family are spared execution or ...
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Two Russian soldiers, one battle-seasoned and the other barely into his boots and uniform, are taken prisoner by an anxious Islamic father from a remote village hoping to trade them for his captured son.
Douglas is a foreign entrepreneur, who ventures to Russia in 1885 with dreams of selling a new, experimental steam-driven timber harvester in the wilds of Siberia. Jane is his assistant, ... See full summary »
Russia, 1936: revolutionary hero Colonel Kotov is spending an idyllic summer in his village with his young wife and six-year-old daughter Nadia and other assorted family and friends. Things... See full summary »
Wed just as war breaks out, Jeanne hardly gets to know her military husband, Louis, before the debacle of 1940. While waiting for his return from a POW camp, Jeanne journeys through ... See full summary »
June 1946: Stalin invites Russian emigres to return to the motherland. It's a trap: when a ship-load from France arrives in Odessa, only a physician and his family are spared execution or prison. He and his French wife (her passport ripped up) are sent to Kiev. She wants to return to France immediately; he knows that they are captives and must watch every step. By chance, she meets a touring French actress and pleads for help. She also takes a young swimmer under her wing, and several years later, he makes a bold attempt to escape. Meanwhile, the KGB is suspicious, and hope for freedom is dim. Patience, her husband's self control, and her good looks may be their only assets.Written by
When Marie goes to the KGB building in Kiev and Alexei finds her there, persuading her to leave, the viewer can read a sign on the building that says, in Cyrillic letters, "Ministerstvo na..." This is a Bulgarian genitive construction, meaning "The Ministry of..." The only Slavic languages that show the genitive case in this fashion are Bulgarian and Macedonian. The genitive case is marked differently in Russian and Ukrainian, which shows that the "KGB" building could not actually have been in Kiev. This makes sense because the film was partially shot in Bulgaria. See more »
The cathartic nature of this film was such that found myself unable even to cry until the credits began their long slow march across the screen, and even then getting up out of my seat was not an option. I don't think any other film has made such a profound and immediate impact on me.
Set in the years following Stalin's invitation to former expatriates to return to their native Russia a call many answered, blissfully unaware of the dire consequences their decision would have- it is filled with the Russian spirit that sees people stubbornly persevering, and touched with the French one that not only looks for escape but insists upon it.
Some films would be rendered incomprehensible simply by the sheer amount of quiet action that here, thankfully, only adds to the audience's investment in the film, without losing focus. It was unquestionably the best film I have seen in recent memory. It is the closest I have ever felt to experiencing a Gesamtkunstwerk in a movie theatre.
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