The three children of Chechnyan family are separated by the Russian invasion in 1999. The middle child, 9 year old Hadji, believing his older sister Raissa is dead along with his parents finds a place to leave his baby brother and gets swept up in the migration of survivors away from the war front. The refugees cross out of Chechnya into the town of Nazran in the Republic of Inguishetia in the Russian Federation where Hadji is left at a refugee center. Hadji is befriended by a young Frenchwoman Carole who is documenting the events for the Human Rights Committee of the European Union. Hadji is not speaking at all and Carole doesn't speak Chechnian but Carole provides for Hadji and develops a supportive relationship with him until she can find out his story and what to do with him. Raissa follows Hadji's journey to try to reunite with her two brothers. A second story-line follows a 19 year old Russian student Kolia who gets arrested with marijuana and sent into the army to avoid jail. ...Written by
The film is a reiteration of the Oscar-winning post-Holocaust drama also called "The Search," directed by Fred Zinnemann, in which a compassionate westerner helps a lost child find what is left of his family amidst the chaotic flood of post-war civilian refugees. See more »
Because of mixed reviews at the showing at the 2014 Cannes Festival, mostly criticizing the length of the movie, the director removed 20 minutes from that cut for the theatrical release. See more »
It's 1999, the Second Chechen War. Young Russian Army recruit Kolia is filming the troops. They kill an elderly couple. Their 9 year old son Hadji escapes with his baby brother. He leaves the baby with the neighbors and joins the refugees going north. Alone and turning mute, he is taken in by french woman Carole who is writing a report for the EU Human Rights Committee. Helen (Annette Bening) runs the local humanitarian effort and dismisses her work. Meanwhile, Hadji's sister actually survived the massacre and sets off searching for him. The movie also follows Kolia as he signs up with his friend. He faces brutal treatment in the Russian Army and is then sent to the front.
This is a French film made in Georgia. I like the kid and the French woman, no matter how unlikely the situation. The sister's story has a few compelling moments although the reunion is never in doubt. Kolia is never that compelling to me. His part could function much better by itself which would look closer to Full Metal Jacket. By itself, his story has value. The production and the war torn setting all look fine. It's just that I don't care that much about him and I kept waiting for the movie to return to the boy. I also have an issue with her boring speech to the committee. She has a great prop for her report. She could simply film Hadji talking about losing his family and that would be infinitely more riveting than her report. It seems like an obvious move for the story and for her character. It would then be even more heartbreaking when her boss reprimands her for her supposed stunt. Somebody should write better. Overall, I like the kid and his journey. The other stuff and the minor problems detract from a better score.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this