The Cuckoo [DVD] 
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Offbeat World War 2 drama set in rural Lapland. A few days before Finland pulls out of the war, a Finnish sniper, Veiko (Ville Haapasalo) is left chained to a rock after being accused by his compatriots of being a pacifist and a reluctant fighter. But Veiko manages to unhinge the chains and break free. He then befriends a young reindeer farmer, Anni (Anni-Kristiina Juuso), whose husband has never returned after being drafted into the Finnish army four years earlier. Also living on the farm with Anni is an AWOL Russian soldier, Ivan (Viktor Bychkov), whose life Anni saved after he was nearly killed in a nearby bombing . Both men continue to hide on the farm until they can safely return home, although none of the three speak the same language. All three continue to talk in their own native tongues, with consequences that vary from funny to devastating. As the unlikely trio gather food and prepare the farm for the long Lapp winter, love, jealousy and a series of misunderstandings cause the dynamic between them to shift and intensify.
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Top Customer Reviews
The movie starts fast and doesn't give hints as to where it's going, the three main actors, two soldiers (one finnish and one russian) and a lapplander do not share a language so blather on in their own languages in the hope of communication, we as an audience see the humourous miscommunication in the subtitles and there are some really great comic situations as well.
The film is visually beautiful and full of life and essentially about people hearing what they want to hear regardless of the language it's in, by the people speaking different languages this is highlighted. the actors are great and really flesh out their respective cultures well.
Overall a good buy for those looking for a good foreign movie from the chilly north.
The premise of the film hinges largely on the mutual incomprehensibility of the three main characters, and it would be interesting to watch it as a Finnish speaker (I speak Russian very badly) to see just how incompatible Sami and Finnish actually are. Anny evidently understands Veiko more than Kartuzov (or "Sholty", as Veiko calls him after Kartuzov misunderstands his original question), but the biggest comedy is naturally between Kartuzov and Anny, over his eating arrangements and her ...proclivities towards the Finn. This is managed beautifully, but the action was too prolonged to be really tight and dramatic, and one started to yell at them to hurry up. Even though it was meant to be slow, the pace could have been quickened just slightly, to enhance the drama and the comedy of errors.
The good thing is that although Anny Juuso plays the part of the peasant woman with great dignity and attention to ethnic detail, there is no glorification of such a lifestyle, with "Cuckoo" being as prosaic as the next, describing her life as being like a fox eating its own dung if she doesn't get enough fish in for the winter, among other earthy metaphors. It is clear from the Russian-language documentary on the DVD that all three main characters are playing themselves, in a sense; Haapsalo and Bychkov are soldier material, and Juuso is earth mother, although in an electric blue catsuit rather than Sami ethnic dress.Read more ›
Why thrice a cuckoo?
1. a cuckoo is a name for a sniper
2. a cuckoo doesn't bring up its own young
3. the heroines name is cuckoo
Could have been a 5 with a little more, made in a hurry and it shows a little, one of the few films I have seen that needs more, rather than editing down.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was disappointed to see the DVD was in French but was delighted that this was incorrect. Really enjoyed the film and the sceneryPublished 6 months ago by w davies
a must - simple, you are missing one of the best anti-war stories and a classic on how communication can fail if three people are forced together but do not have a common language... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Such a well-crafted, well-acted, funny and touching film! The DVD arrived exactly as described, and swiftly. Excellent product and service.Published on 18 April 2013 by Mr. Jj Hartford
Brilliant charming film. Withstands - and even benefits from - several views. Great story and acting. Interesting placement in historical context. Hugely unsung film.Published on 4 Aug. 2012 by PB
This is a lovely film, both hilarious and moving. I was totally sucked into this film and transported to the wilds of northern Finland. A must for anyone interested in world cinemaPublished on 12 July 2011 by Mike M