Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Lyudmila Motornaya, Vyacheslav Batrakov, Dmitri Yakovlev, Dmitri Yermakov, Sergei Starostin
Director: Marina Razbezhkina
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Kino International Release Date: 02/06/2007 Run time: 67 minutes
Field of Dreams (Broken)
Brendan M. Howard | Kansas, USA | 01/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Harvest Time takes pains to show the beauty of its southern Russian plains. Figuratively speaking, bugs dance, the sun sings, and rain plays music for the farmers and their families. But the natural beauty is subverted by the barely comical, mostly tragic tale of a hard-working woman who loses her sanity and family to the Russian flag.
This particular Russian flag--not with the hammer and sickle, but a Revolution-era one with the proud faces of Lenin, etc.--is given into the safekeeping of Antonina as a reward for her being the best combine operator in the village. Before then, she is purposefully devoted to her family. She has a World War II-wounded legless husband who loves her and their two boys with intense humor and hope, even if he can't really help her with the chores or work.
But her world changes when she returns to a home with a beautiful flag and nowhere safe to put it. She more and more devotes her days and nights to hiding the flag from mice, failing, and repairing their nibbled holes, making it imperceptibly smaller and smaller. Eventually, her obsession with operating the combine quickly and efficiently overtakes her love of family. She must stay No. 1 so no one ever notices the flag's shrinking size. The family suffers, the village is largely oblivious, and the state's officers don't care. They just come, year after year, on the day to award the best combine operator with possession of an inspirational flag. It is a flag that weighs its winner with a responsibility that cannot be met.
The film's tenor is typical visually focused foreign film: not much dialogue, beautiful scenes, occasional traumas and joys. It tells a story of a woman destroyed by her country, but not in the typical way. Eventually, it comes out that the story's greater meaning is the filmmaker's sadness that modern post-Soviet Russians have forgotten the pain and the sacrifice that Soviet Russians made for their country and its welfare. It's something they want to forget. These 1950s-era citizens were not allowed to live as individuals, but as cogs in the Communist world. Whether that was good or bad is for each viewer to decide.
This film is a dish best enjoyed by fans of Russian film fans who will better appreciate the historical context of the film. For those of us ignoramuses, it was too slow to recommend to a wider audience.
DVD Extras: There's a photo gallery with some nice shots of cast and crew."