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Lest we forget...,
This review is from: Repentance (DVD NTSC) (DVD)
I saw this film in Moscow in 1988 or there about: Brejnev & Co were gone and Gorbachev was beginning to open the flood gates of perestroika and glasnost (reform and transparency). Shortly before watching this extraordinary film, Andrei Roublev was also shown for the first time in the country in a public theatre after years of being banned. I was there on the opening night and the viewers'hushed and stunned silence that followed the closing scene were eloquent.
Repentance is a busy film: there is imagery, surrealism, poignancy (the sequence showing women prisoners in a camp carving their names on the trunks of the trees they are
pushing into the river hoping their men, kept in a another gulag camp downstream will see them is almost unbearable. The Evil character of Varlam is an amalgam of Beria and Himmler may be or Hitler. It is a long saga of pain, brutality and harshness visited on victims, on keeping the faith and surviving, and above all of keeping the memory of the past alive..
It is the third of a trilogy by Abuladze. I haven't seen the first two but I doubt it is necessary to see them to understand this one, his third. A most remarkable film, all the more so considering it was made under the watchful eyes of the Soviet regime.