(A 54:24) In Malika's house, Malika invites Alexandra to take her jacket off. Alexandra does so laboriously. 20 seconds later she's suddenly wearing it again, and works her way out of it once more. See more »
I don't know many grandmothers that would take a troop train across Russia, then get on top a troop transport to visit their grandson (Vasily Shevtsov), an Army Captain in Chechnya. But this grandmother (Galina Vishnevskaya) did. It was certainly an arduous journey for the elderly woman.
The films color is appropriate for the hot and dirty climate where here grandson is stationed. The soldiers are all shirtless and just sit around waiting. The other soldiers watch her with fascination, probably thinking of home and their own grandmothers.
She makes her way to the market where cigarettes are priced depending upon you rank. The locals look at the Russians with disgust. She manages to connect with a local, Malika (Raisa Gichaeva), who treats her like a sister.
It is not a place for a grandmother, but she manages to connect again with her grandson before he goes off on a five-days mission, and she boards the troop train home.
It was only anti-war in a subtle sense. The futility of it all was visible, but not exaggerated. Maybe the futility was finally recognized as the Russians are to leave Chechnya soon.
A very good story.
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