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Another superior bleak film, rising above in everyway; the bleached washed colour, the mastery of acting, the filmic presentation of scenes, the terse cynical dialogue and the deep psychological insights flowing from life inspected under occupation. Russian film; so it becomes as brutal as it gets, without reaching out from inside its box to pull you by the hair, head and shoulders into its maelstorm.
War, what is it good for? Apart from being the backdrop for Russian/East European films, it serves no constructive purpose whatsoever. In the East was was pure barbarism of tooth and waving pincer and mandible. Here the focus is on collaboration, and the various psychological games that ensue, as people switch sides according to belief, custom and the need to stay alive, or so it seems. Underneath this portrayal, there is both an amoral and moral compass, based upon a higher realm, not of party state and belief system. Partly formed on the difference between lust and love ut not Hollywood love. The film builds on the bonds growing between men who slowly build trust. Another film that is excruciating as it twists its knife into the soft flaccid underbelly of evil and screams in terror at what it reveals about the self. Killing kills something in both the perpetrator and its victim, providing a greater depth than the West, as it seeks to find a boundary to sanity and keeps on going. Never has heroics been given such a deep sense of pathos and after shock.
The occupiers and their drones, bully the population to satisfy their needs. Families are ripped apart as a result, but always undeneath lies a deep sense of pessimism, that idealises the short, brutal nature of life, but it is what happens in between that marks a personal history. All shot within that acidic deep cynical humour the russians have used to make sense of the carnage.
Brutal searing, violent, malevolent but scratching to get out is a new form of humanity. You just need to come and see how these people struggle.
The scenery is the wild frontier of rural Russia, and the action takes place in woods and fields of a small village life.
One of the greats.