RUSSIA

A RUSSIAN YOUTH Мальчик Русский

2019 – DCP – colore – 72’

 

Direction: Alexander Zolotukhin

Screenplay: Alexander Zolotukhin

Cinematography: Ayrat Yamilov

Editing: Tatyana Kuzmicheva

Set design: Elena Zhukova

Music: Sergej Rachmaninow

Costumes: Olga Bakhareva

Cast: Vladimir Korolev, Mikhail Buturlov, Artem Leshik, Danil Tyabin, Sergey Goncharenko, Filipp Dyachkov

Producers: Eduard Pichugin, Alexander Sokurov

Production: Lenfilm Studios, Example of Intonation Fund

 

SYNOPSIS

The film tells the story of a simple village boy who goes to the front of the First World War with a naive juvenile dream of acquiring fame and medals. In the first battle, he loses his sight. He is left to serve as a listener — he must listen carefully through huge metal funnels and raise an alarm when enemy airplanes are approaching. Back then, the Russian Empire army was mainly formed by peasants and the working class — people whose appearances showed that they lived a life of hard labor. Many non-professional actors in the film were found on the streets, in factories, among the cadets of military schools…

 

CRITICAL NOTE

“The colours are faded, as if the images were from another time. But there’s also a stylised, abstract quality to the grainy footage. Little by little, the bodies take centre stage – their vulnerability and their energy, they almost seem like creatures. The camera and the editing keep pace with the young blind man. He seems to be trying to find a place for himself as a soldier, both literally and figuratively. Contemporary documentary recordings of orchestra rehearsals for Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 Op. 30 (1909) and Symphonic Dances Op. 45 (1940) don’t interrupt the narrative flow, but rather translate motifs and themes into an acoustic resonance chamber.”

(Anke Leweke, Berlinale 2019 Forum Catalogue)