Dead Man's Letters
- 1h 27min
In the aftermath of nuclear holocaust, a group of intellectuals crave to find hope in the pale and colorless new world. Among them, a history teacher tries to contact via letters his missing... Read allIn the aftermath of nuclear holocaust, a group of intellectuals crave to find hope in the pale and colorless new world. Among them, a history teacher tries to contact via letters his missing son.In the aftermath of nuclear holocaust, a group of intellectuals crave to find hope in the pale and colorless new world. Among them, a history teacher tries to contact via letters his missing son.
Letter from a Dead Man, established amidst the panic of a nuclear holocaust, the result of the irrational arms escalation with which the United States and the Soviet Union were putting pressure on each other and which threatened to transform life on our planet into something impracticable. However, the accident at the Chernobyl plant, which occurred five months before the premiere of this film, determines its most obvious message.
The panic to lose everything is definitely achieved, to reset the historical evolution of one single action, to forget the identity of species and break the commonly admitted social contract was identical in capitalism and socialism, especially because it was the common sense of the ordinary citizen who was demonstrating in pursuit of a understanding. What was the point of mutual annihilation, if no one would emerge victorious from the final battle? What is the goal of total domination, if there is nothing left to dominate? What is the meaning of the will to try to impose your own model, if the future is nothing more than a barren terrain lined with rubble?
But despite the uncompromising staging of the film, Konstantin Lopuschanski retains, maybe naturally, a humanistic core. Aside from the anti-nuclear aspect, "Letter From a Dead Man" is a haunting reminder for reason, in the resolute emphasis on human humanity, which ultimately represents a final anchor of hope. Therefore, the film closes with a quote from the infamous 1955 "Russel Einstein Manifesto" against nuclear war: "There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? "
The protagonist and his fellow sufferers are constantly preoccupied with questions about humanity, about the conditions of the human race and the absurdity of war. A resident of the museum bunker, for example, dictates a pathetic pamphlet to his secretary about the fatality of the civilization process in the machine, marked by deep disgust for progress and the awareness of the ultimate end of humanity - as a testament for subsequent civilizations. "Mankind was a tragic species, doomed perhaps from the very beginning." One of the roommates expresses his deep love for humanity in a farewell prayer shortly before his suicide; "Love created art, an art which reflects our unbearable yearning for perfection, our immense despair, our endless cry of terror..."
there is a also a great thought-provoking scene where the professor (the protagonist) remembers his childhood nightmare; when he was frightened by a big locomotive; and now it seems to him that it was he - with his inventions - who created the giant locomotive that overran humanity: and his most terrible dream is the one in which he sees his son on the rails...
Finally the professor tells his prodigal son the story of his fears, dreams and research, all of which together expresses one thing: his ambivalence between hope and self-abandonment, which characterize his whole situation and the essence of the movie. The movie also gives more suggestion to an existentialist and humanistic side that states that the face of death is not scary anymore given that everything has perished. And that hope can still be found in youth as the only remaining symbol of innocence, and that it is impossible to imagine that humanity will be wiped out permanently from the face of the earth.
Lopushansky assisted Tarkovsky during the production of Stalker - and that influence is clearly visible in every shot. that is its: sepia tones, long, static shots or slow driving on the landscape, melancholy intonation of caring questioning about where modern man is heading imbued with religious faith, etc. Visually, almost the entire film is coloured of sepia, brown-black, a ugly, grainy, 'dirty' sepia. it's not that high-contrast, sharp and somehow 'beautiful' sepia of STALKER. This is a film about a world that has driven itself to the grave, with a slow, elegiac, torturous atmosphere, it shows the last twitches of a man's futile attemps to save humanity.
But given all these great quotes etc, the movie's plot, in the beggining, is hard to grasp and many big factors in the film is not understandable at first. Thus it have a relatively poor structure and narrative.
- Jan 15, 2021