Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vremya Zhatvy (Harvest Time)

After seeing this Marina Razbezhkina movie I had the feeling of have seen a beautiful documentary more than a film, so I was surprised to find that many others felt the same especially when they knew (I didn’t) that this is Razbezhkina first feature film as before she did only documentaries.

But there is a story here, a family drama that I wish to see as what happens to families that simply disappear as there is no one that will continue the family name. The story outline is about Antonina (Lyudmila Motornaya) life with her legless husband and her two sons. The story is narrated by the youngest son and tells about simple life in the 50's Russian countryside and how recognition and all the society responsibilities that come with it can disrupt a quiet family life.

It is amazing that if you search the net you will find some plot synopsis about this film and most say totally different descriptions of the story. This probably happens because this is an amazing film with very few words and few scenes that could give the plot away, so you have to fill the huge gaps in the filmmaker storytelling.

What this movie truly has is an outstanding cinematography with sepia and yellowish tones and extraordinary orange sunsets and landscapes, plus an amazing directorial debut by Rabezhika that does incredibly good framing and motivates actors’ performances to produce very dramatic still takes that look like impressive photographs.

If you want to read about the movie there is an interesting article (even if the translation from Russian is odd) here. Razbezhkina was nominated for European Discovery of the Year at the 2004 European Film Awards, won the FIPRESCI Prize and Russian Film Critics Award-Special Mention at the 2004 Moscow International Film Festival, tied for the Silver Alexander and won the Special Artistic Achivement at the 2004 Thessaloniki Film Festival and won the Prize Trieste at the 2005 Trieste Film Festival.

Absolutely not for all audiences you really have to like art cinema to enjoy this movie.


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