Monday, October 18, 2010

Край Kray (The Edge)

An entertaining film by Aleksei Uchitel that to my surprise is a love story told using all the western stereotypes of Russia (taiga, bears, moonshine, etc) plus one element that I’m sure will excite more some viewers (male) than others (female) showing train races with early 20th century built locomotives.

Set shortly after the end of WWII in the Siberian hinterland among Russians and Germans with damaged personal stories and a strange transformation: the victors seem to be crawling into the skins of the defeated, and vice versa. Ignat arrives to the small village and stirs the population with his ways and driving a locomotive when he was clearly forbidden to do. Eventually he goes to an island to rescue an old abandon locomotive which he succeeds thanks to the help of a German woman that spent the war alone in the island and survived after four years. So, it’s the very unconventional –yet very commercial- love story between Ignat and Elsa.

As Uchitel said in an interview, this is the most commercial film he has done and consequently appeals to a wider audience and unfortunately it’s true as looks and feels like a very-entertaining but very-commercial film. Still there were a few (too few) outstanding and breathtaking scenes that recall how Uchitel can be poetic framing scenes.

I enjoyed the film that grabbed my attention for every minute and didn’t let go until the very end with an extraordinary aerial view of grayish Siberian forest in winter. So commercial does not mean bad, but I absolutely missed visual poetry and slower pace that allows feeling and live everything told in the story. Puzzles me that’s Russia’s Oscar submission, but seems whoever chose this film was thinking in a film that could please Academy voters to –of course- get the Oscar.

So if you’re in the mood of watching mainstream Russian cinema with a very-unconventionally told love story this is the film to watch and I’m sure you’ll enjoy beyond what you imagined. Then I’m positive that men will love also the film for all the locomotive action that the film portraits.


Watch trailer @MOC

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