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Dear Comrades!


Christian
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It's been a long time since I've launched a thread at A&F, but I've just watched Dear Comrades! and feel compelled to do just that.

You may know that this is Russia's official entry for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards, and that its director, Andrei Konchalovskiy, directed The Inner Circle and Runaway Train. (Oh, and Tango & Cash, which I never bothered to see.) His anti-communist bonafides are well established, and I expected I'd like the film mainly because such films are in my wheelhouse.

What I didn't expect is that the film would be so religious. This element emerges rather slowly, and the first time it came up I thought the angle would be limited to a certain side character. I'm the type of viewer who's so hungry for religious depictions in film that I knew I'd be crediting the film for that character portrait alone. What I didn't see coming is how that element would become integral to the central character's motivations during the film's second half. 

I don't want to say too much about the movie, but I do, of course, encourage everyone to see it. The first half is quite good, but also very talky. I found the talk interesting, if not quite fascinating. The framing (the film is shot in Academy ratio) and black-and-white cinematography are striking and are enough to recommend the film, but it's really the second-half turn, if I can call it that, that elevated the story. 

I'm tempted to call Dear Comrades! a masterpiece, but for now I just know that I'm excited that the film took me on a journey I did not expect. I'm a little overwhelmed.

(Finally, I see this film's title listed almost everywhere with a exclamation point at its end, but IMDB does not use the exclamation point, FWIW.)

 

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 1 month later...

Watched this yesterday. It's been a long time since I watched Eisenstein, but this certainly brought him to mind. It seems to me to be almost a parody of nostalgia--the yearning for the "good old days" under Stalin. the final shot seems right out of a Soviet-era film. I expect it reflects a response to Putin and his attempts to "Make Russia Great Again."

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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  • 1 month later...

Did anyone else catch up with this film? I'm curious to know if I misread it (I watched it only once) as a fundamentally religious story.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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