I don't normally write Amazon reviews, but I'm amazed, and delighted, that this film has received the kind of critical acclaim it has. Most reviewers, as far as I can check, have treated it with all the solemnity of a meditative revelation from the remote reaches of pagan Russia, a poignant encounter with death, love, water and the basics of human existence.
Baloney. The film makers must be laughing themselves sick. Just listen to the words of the alleged poetry and songs of this semi-extinct culture; or think about the scene where they buy 120 axe handles, 100 shovel handles, etc., to build a funeral pyre; count the amount of vodka consumed in getting the pyre to burn; at least notice that the novel upon which the film claims to be based doesn't exist, though (according to the final words of the film) it was posthumously typed on the shiny scales of the fish of the Volga - on the typewriter once sacrificed to the great river by the poet-father.
It's not only the protagonists who have had their eyes metaphorically pecked out by allegorical songbirds. Put your tongue firmly in your cheek and watch it again. It's a superb piece of cod ethnology, beautifully pitched to entice sophisticated viewers into acclaiming a spoof as a masterpiece - which, in its own terms, it is! A hoot.