Five years ago, Tania (Mariya Morinova) left her small village and left to Moscow, pursuing a career as a model. Now she returns, and for everyone's surprise, she decides to marry Mishka (Marat Mashanov), her former lover. As the preparations for the wedding begin, many passions are set loose. Mishka's family does not trust Tania and Mishka himself doubts about Tania's motivations. To make things worse, Mishka is not wealthy, so he must rely on his best friend Garkusha's talent for the illegal in order to raise money. The Wedding night will be full of surprises.
That is the plot of "Svadba", a Russian movie that proves that good movies are made with love and not with SFX. The wedding celebration is a perfect background for this comedy/drama that explores the misfortunes of a typical Russian family of miners. The realistic approach taken by director Pavel Lungin makes the audience feel part of the celebration, as if it were the real video home of an authentic wedding.
Part of this success is due to the great acting of the cast, Andrei Panin is outstanding as Garkusha and he steals every scene he is in. His character the perfect catalyst between drama and comedy, giving the film humor and heart. Mariya Morinova is beautiful and shows a great talent for drama as the mysterious Tania. The rest of the cast is quite good and everyone receives a chance to shine as the wedding party goes on.
"Svadba" presents us a glimpse of Russian society; in a manner similar to India's "Monsoon Wedding" or Mexico's "El Anzuelo", the wedding is an event that serves as backbone to the stories of the family friends and relatives, from the sister who can't find a boyfriend to the town's police chief, who wants nothing but to leave the small village.
Another point that is handled with subtlety by the movie, is the new society of post-Communist Russia. In the small village that seems lost in time, Moscow is like a dream, where capitalism runs rampant and where everything is to be possible. However, Tania returns home looking for a quieter way of life, and the inhabitants of her hometown represent that lost innocence she struggles to recover.
The movie is a light-hearted comedy with touches of drama that has enough charm to capture the attention without getting boring, or overtly sentimentalist. This is a movie that proves that all a movie needs to be good is a lot of heart. 8/10