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.
It's easy to imagine this film veering towards the bleak and ponderous, but it defies those traps at every turn. The Island hums with energetic performances, divine sound, and cinematography crafted with such sincere beauty that almost every frame is a painting.
Is that you ringing the church bell Fyodor? The Island asks viewers how much a man must toil in supplication before truly being washed clean of sin. Or is it actually how he toils, or for what reason or under which bureaucratic heel that matters? Perhaps it's the chance of being washed and redeemed that weighs heaviest with madness. Here Anatoly and the coal seek the flame for release, rather than the weight of water
Interesting. A monastic dramedy that even throws in an exorcism along the way. I laughed out loud more than once at Anatoly's antics. nodded in agreement and some of his revelations, and felt a sense of peace as he made his final journey across the icy waters. A quite remarkable and rather wondrous film.
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...
Thought it portrayed a Russian mystic monastic life in a lovely manner, with even the slightly extravagant aspects of the plot being easily adapted to, keeping in mind the spiritual message. I thought it was a really pleasant watch, focusing more on the internal questionings of faith and guilt of a tortured saint-like monk in the bleak winter.