28 February 2012 | mattius88
The evil of the group mentality
This film really surprised me and to be fair I think it has been overlooked in any lists of top Russian films of all time. There seems to be no English subtitles on the net and it's a shame this film is unavailable to a larger audience. The setting is perfectly captured, provincial Soviet Russia, I loved the music and the camera work is excellent but I suppose for a lot of people this won't come across, it will look like some dated, weird film to a non-Russian/Soviet audience. But if you look past these elements you will be drawn into a tense study of group psychology. At times I felt I was watching a version of "Lord of the Flies", we see children and their behaviour, how it is warped and shaped by the group around them and the frustrations they have with their own home lives. The main child actor in the film is mesmeric and you can't help but being tore up inside watching the world through her eyes, seeing the cruelness of others. The film deals with one of the key points in childhood; learning that people around you can be cowardly and cruel, that the group mentality is harsh for those caught outside of it. I really felt emotionally stirred by this film and this doesn't always happen. It was on a level with 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest" for awakening one's moral outrage! So to sum up, the films is well put together, full of meaningful thematic content but by no means some abstract artsy affair - it is an accessible and engaging drama for any person who has experienced childhood.