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Film Critics: Today, December 11, winners from New YorkFCOnline, San FranciscoFCC, New MexicoFC, AtlantaFCC, PhiladelphiaFCC, TorontoFCA, BostonSFC. Nominations from St. LouisFCA and ChicagoFCA.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Остров Ostrov (The Island)


Sometimes you expect a movie to be good and I was really hoping that this movie by Pavel Lungin was good. How wrong I was. This movie is not good, is Outstandingly Excellent!!! The best I have seen in a long, long time and one that I strongly recommend to everyone that loves great storytelling with extraordinary visual and tech specs that create a true cinema masterpiece that has something not common in great cinema as is also surprisingly very entertaining.

I really don’t want to tell you what is about as I believe that knowing anything about the story will help you to experience the surprise of how amazing the story is (especially because is a Russian story). But I can tell you that the story happens in a small Russian Orthodox monastery with some constructions built in small islands connected by man made fragile bridges. Just watching the amazing location is superb with an unbelievably good and visually poetic cinematography. Many things happen in this story that mainly is the story of a very unusual Holy Man that can foretell the future, heal and even do exorcisms. But, you have to remember that this is not Hollywood, this is what I can call Great Russian cinema, so the Holy Man will not likely be as you can imagine. Last, some can see it as a religious story, but not me. I see it as an amazing (and very entertaining) spiritual story.

All right the film is not for all audiences, as has a very slow pace that allows you to gloriously contemplate the magnificent location to the minimal detail. Besides when is in the WWII moment is really dark with the minimum light possible and is really in black and white; then when moves in time to the 70’s lighting gives the impression that the film is still in black and white (which is not) and makes the monks look like branchless trees, dark and tall, just like the famous Russian icons. Really Fabulous! But what is really masterful is the incredible succession of one after another excellent visual compositions. Last, the palette slightly changes to be more real full color as the story reaches the end and the finale is in crescendo with a light saturation take. I simply love directors that take such good care of little details to make the film outstanding.

But the performance by former Russian rock star Pyotr Mamonov is unbelievably outstanding, superb! He really makes Father Anatoli a truly colorful character. Chapeau to Mamonov and Lungin!

Yes, this movie really excited me and definitively makes me extremely happy that Pavel Lungin has 12 movies that I haven’t seen and hopefully I will see eventually. But now more than ever the wait for being able to watch Tsar will be hard to endure.

This is a movie that I strongly recommend to everyone that enjoys serious and great cinema. Bravo!!!

BIG ENJOY!!!

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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