After the end of World War II, a shy woman with an unusual nickname is confronted with an ultimatum when her female comrade returns home to Leningrad demanding answers.
The scars of war, physical or mental, do not disappear once one leaves the battlefield. But for the towering, pasty, and thin Iya (Viktoria MiroShnichenko), life with three-year-old Pashka in post-siege Leningrad has returned to near normalcy amongst the decrepit buildings and rubble-filled streets. Her work as a nurse and silent confidant to many of the disabled veterans at the local hospital is only interrupted by occasional, PTSD-driven fits of paralysis. The surprise early return of Iya’s close friend, the fiery Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina), from the frontlines would be cause for celebration, if not for the news of an immense tragedy. Now bound together through loss more than ever before, the two very different women must navigate their complicated relationship and post-war life. Although the dreary, snowy streets of Leningrad are impeccably captured in Kantemir Balagov’s magnificent Beanpole, it is the young filmmaker’s brilliant choice to infuse a lush color palette into the bleakest of scenarios that remains seared into the memory. This, combined with the extraordinary first-time performances from the film’s two leads, make what would be a slow and somber affair into one of the most passionate and hauntingly memorable films of the year.
CAST: VIKTORIA MIROSHNICHENKO, VASILISA PERELYGINA, ANDREY BYKOV, IGOR SHIROKOV
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