In 1905 Jane Callaghan, a once beautiful American, writes to her son at a famous military academy. Her memories take us back twenty years to when she arrived in Russia.
Much criticised on its first appearance as spectacle without affect, Nikita Mikhalkov's The Barber of Siberia
is a fascinating, loopy mess worth seeing for its large-scale set pieces and good central performances. The Barber of Siberia
was the most expensive film ever made in Russia, with its epic sweeps of landscape and scenes of disorder and drunkenness that remind us what lurked under the superficial structures of late-Tsarist life. Jane Callaghan (Julia Ormond) is an adventurer hired to smooth the way for McCracken (Richard Harris), inventor of a vast tree-felling machine. She blunders around a world of aristocratic influence and intrigue, having become so used to cunning and deceit that she has forgotten she has a heart. Andrei (Oleg Menshikov) is the military cadet whom she meets on the train going east, an aesthete and chancer whose love for her in the face of all the her good sense finally becomes tragic. Menshikov is convincing as lover, buffoon and tragic hero. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.