Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Anni-Kristiina Juuso, Ville Haapasalo, Viktor Bychkov, Mikhail Korobochkin, Aleksei Kashnikov
Director: Aleksandr Rogozhkin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Military & War
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Extraordinary, funny, inspirational, beautiful
Peggy Vincent | Oakland, CA | 01/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What an extraordinary movie! I was confused at the beginning, as were the 3 people with whom I was watching this ultimately marvelous film. We couldn't figure out why the guy was being chained to the rock, who was on which side of the war, what languages they were speaking. But with a little patience and perseverance, it all becomes crystal clear and the movie soars to the stratosphere. Ten stars.
The whole movie is set in Lappland, home of the ethnic Sami people. There's a pacifist-Finnish-conscript-sniper-prisoner of the Russians (got all that?) who is chained to the rock and left to die (dressed in an SS uniform) because he just doesn't want to fight any more. Didn't want to fight in the first place. Most of the beginning of the movie is taken up with his persistent and ingenious attempts to free himself from the chains - and I think it was all of those schemes that kept my 18yo son fascinated. By the time the bolt came loose from the stone, my kid was hooked on `the real story,' and, in spite of hating subtitles, he stuck around to the end and loved it.
Okay, stay with me here. Then there's a Russian prisoner of his own countrymen being taken to trial for the anti-Communist views found in his diaries. The jeep with the Russian is bombed; only the prisoner survives, but he's badly concussed.
And there's an utterly charming and luminous young Sami woman living alone (her husband was taken off 4 yrs earlier as a conscript) on a spit of land in a beautiful but pretty barren wilderness who ends up with both men in her hut. None of them speak a common language. The subtitles are hilarious as they babble on incessantly to each other with only occasional glimmers of real communication and understanding. But somehow they forge bonds, the seasons pass, the odd romances blossom and wane - and at the back of the whole story is one of the strongest anti-war messages I've ever seen.
Anni-Christina Juuso, the Sami actress, is nothing short of extraordinary.
The ending is touchingly beautiful, perfectly fitting for this touchingly beautiful film.
See it now."
AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE
Boris Zubry | Princeton, NJ United States | 08/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The main theme of this film is well known and very well worked out. Two enemies meet in a neutral surrounding. They want to kill each other, but by one reason or another, they don't. Sounds familiar? Well here we have an extra twist - a woman. None of these three people understand each other; they speak different languages and they have different backgrounds. There is no understanding but yet there is some. They feel each other.
The film is smartly complemented by the excellent director's work, superb acting, top cinematography, and the beautiful scenery of (Laplandia - Korelia) the northern Russia - southern Finland. This was the territory the Soviets aggressively took away from the Finns in 1939 in the Soviet - Finish war (the forgotten war). That is when the Finish snipers and the brutal winter destroyed the Soviet Army but still a little country as Finland could not defend itself against the Soviet might.
I give this film five stars and a very warm recommendation to everyone to watch it.
Very Impressive ...
Sharad Yadav | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A very simple happenstance movie about a frustrated Russian soldier, a reluctant Finn soldier and a pastoral Sami woman. There are just the three characters in the movie and all of them speak different languages (Russian, Finnish and Sami). The Finn soldier (Veikko played by Ville Haapasalo) is a sniper (Cuckoo in military jargon) who is chained to his position in a remote outpost. His die-hard and innovative attempts to get rid of the shackles whilst complaining about the war, are simply hilarious (the actor's silent facial expressions are most impressive). The Russian soldier/prisoner (Ivan) is stranded in a foreign land and is ever suspicious. The pastoral Sami woman (Anni played by Anni-Kristiina Juuso)steals the show with her top-notch acting. Her bucolic lifestyle and simple outlook towards life is thought provoking. None of the characters in the movie can speak or understand each other's language and their interactions (mostly miscommunications) are simply hilarious.
In one of the scenes, Ivan cooks mushrooms for dinner. Anni thinks mushrooms will give Ivan a bad stomach. She prepares an infusion and (kindly) offers it to Ivan, who gladly drinks appreciating the wonderful taste. The infusion is in fact a potent laxative that takes immediate affect.
All in all a wonderful movie from Russia that reaffirms the beauty of life and the futility of war. It is also a movie about making connections by letting go of fear, suspicion and predisposed biases.
Solid performances by Anni-Kristiina Juuso & Ville Haapasalo."
Brad Borland | Seattle | 11/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie at a festival last month. It was produced in Russia, with the subject matter taken from WWII somewhere along the Finland/Russia border in Lapland. Fabulous scenery! I have seen other movies about this time period from the Finnish perspective. This is not a typiclal war movie with lots of blood and gore. Its main characters include a Finnish soldier left to an uncertain fate by his Germain allies, a Lapp woman, and a captured Russian soldier. All three speak with great emotion in their native tongues throughout, although it is apparent that they do not share a common language. This lends humor at times, but also adds a great deal to the effectiveness of their roles. Thank God for subtitles. Both of the Finns, the soldier and the Lapp, are well known cross border thesbians. The Russian actor deserves to be as well. One of the best movies I have ever seen, but I have the advantage of perspective of the era portrayed."