1945, Leningrad. WWII has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Two young women search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.
1945, Leningrad. World War II has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Although the siege - one of the worst in history - is finally over, life and death continue their battle in the wreckage that remains. Two young women, Iya and Masha, search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins. 26-year-old Kantemir Balagov follows TESNOTA, winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, with a powerful period drama.
Far from easy viewing but great cinema nevertheless
Russia in the days immeadiately following the end of World War II. Two young women, scarred from the horrors they have encountered, do what they can to survive in what, fundamentally, is a living hell. "Beanpole" is every bit as depressing as that short synopsis might suggest. It's also only the second feature from the young Russian director Kantemir Balagov, (he's not yet thirty), who might yet turn out to be the greatest Russian filmmaker since Tarkovsky and like Tarkovsky he certainly doesn't believe in compromising.
This is a grim but deeply humanist picture, deeply engaged with its devastated characters. Shot in rigorous close-up with an astonishing use of colour and magnificently played by Vikoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelyygina as the two women in question this is great cinema and a welcome relief from so much of the highly commercial crap that Hollywood turns out these days though being Russian and 'art-house' this will never get the audience it deserves. Nevertthelss, Russia thought enough of it to put it forward as their entry for this years Foreign (now 'International') Film Oscar. It would certainly be a very worthy winner.
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