The words are here. The names are here. The images are here. Even the fire and the prayers to God. But the Spirit isn't here--more's the pity. Lungin's technical direction crossed all the t's, but all was lost in a perfectionism which gave little or no room for the quixotic or unexpected breath of life. It aimed for audience approval and received just that, but somewhere a meaningful film was lost.
Cheery. For a Russian film. The running time on the website is incorrect, though. Only a cool 112 rather than 144. Have to admit: was dreading the original running time. As a Rooskie, I know how self-flagellating we can get, and I really didn't need that for two-plus hours. Thankfully, we got something more hopeful, and rather religious. It's not often that Russian works find solace in God. Great filmmaking.
Now, no more shenanigans, no more holyfoolery, no more ballyhoo. That's a remix of a line from Good Will Hunting. Perhaps sacrilege to quote that film to describe this one, but sacrilege and suffering bespeak Orthodoxy. Ostrov succeeds in provoking thought, inducing feeling and filling one with wonder.
I absolutely loved this. At no time was I sure of what I had seen, had little clue of what I was actually seeing and certainly had no idea of what I would see next. The contrast and synthesis between religious mysticism and stark reality was profound. Definitely one to watch again...
It is quite austere in many ways, but it did remind me of Tarkovsky more than once and it does battle with existence and faith in an interesting manner. Its quite slow pace and enigmatic core will make some enemies, sure, but I, for one, would love to see it acclaimed for its toughness of spirit and genius artistry.