Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Night Watch

I was initially excited to watch this movie because normally I am a fan of the fantasy genre. However, I found myself disappointed about half-way through the film. I felt that Night Watch would have been better had the premise for the movie been explained clearly. There were seemingly things in this film that happened for reasons that were unknown to the audience. Apparently, all of the 'forces of evil' were vampires and they could not be seen by anybody unless the Night Watch summoned them. Some normal people just seemed to be able to see the 'others' while some could not. I was confused as to how the old man stealing from the store was able to see the 'professional calmer'. The movie did not really do a great job of explaining what made somebody an 'other' and what constitued somebody as a 'normal' human. I was unclear as to whether an individual achieved immortal life after they became an other. In my opinion, the 'others' seemed as though they were in fact immortal beings from the 'ancient land' that had been suspended in there battle (which leads me to question how they could do anything if they were suspended in time). I also felt that information was just thrown at the audience randomly. For example, all of a sudden an unfortunate virigin becomes part of the equation in the battle between good and evil. This movie went back and forth between make believe and the real world too much for my taste (Byzantium was mentioned and yet the battle took place in some magical land). In my opinion, there were too many inconsistencies in this movie.

Unfortunately for Bekmambetov, Steve McQueen was not the star of Night Watch and thus action and 'coolness' were unable to compensate for the plot holes. However, I liked the way that this movie played upon people's fears. The forces of evil in this movie had many elements that probably were only real in nightmares. For example, there was a lot of blood in this film and vampires were running around trying to suck the life out of innocent children. The witch at the beginning of the movie may have had the most eerie voice that I have ever heard in my life and the apparent leader of the dark forces seemingly had incredible powers (not to mention a rather disgusting sword). The notion of evil being so strong was probably disquieting for most people. But, perhaps the most frightening aspect of this movie was the way blood was almost overused. Characters drank blood, spit blood down walls, and were covered in blood at various points during the movie.

The main character reminded me exactly of Blade. He had been tainted by evil but used his powers to fight for good. I guess I felt that a large majority of the plot had just been cut out from other films and placed in a jumbled heap into this one. Perhaps, I would feel differently had I read the book before watching the movie. I was surprised that this movie did better than Lord of the Rings in Russia. This almost leads me to draw the conclusion that some Russians prefer works of art that are outrageously weird and impossible to understand over works of art that are tangible.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Return

I associated the color gray with this film. Everything about the plot was kind of hazy. The father created an atmosphere of suspicion throughout the film. I do not feel as though I could say with absolute certainty what he was up to and what his motives were. Although The Return took place in St. Petersburg, I feel as though a different aspect of St. Petersburg was highlighted by the film. I would guess that Brother mainly took place in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg whereas The Return seemed to take place around the periphery of the city. There were seemingly more shots of huge apartment buildings, remants of buildings before the time of the Soviet Union - aristocratic buildings - , and crowded sidewalks than there were in The Return. In my opinion, the shots from The Return focused more on 'open space' and those from Brother focused more on 'crowded space'.

The mother in this film seemed very much like a working mom that had been left by her husband. She tried to be there for her boys - as evidenced by her running out to the dock to comfort Ivan - but she apparently was unable to raise them effectively (as was apparent by their extreme attitude problems). Upon the father's arrival, she appeared to be nervous and submissive. She accepted his word without question at the dinner table and when the boys ran home after fighting each other she nervously told them to be quiet - while she was smoking, which may have been due to nerves - because their father was sleeping. I was also immediately struck by the lack of possessions in the house. There were definitely the necessary items of furniture such as beds and tables, but there were no shots of televisions or personal effects of the boys or their mother. I felt that the house was barren to a degree that none of the other houses have been in movies that we have seen thus far.

I found myself thinking of the father as an extremely old-fashioned type of person. He was rough, serious, and controlling. To me, this seemed to be another instance of a man that obsessively felt the need to be in command of his family (which was strange considering that he had left them for a prolonged period of time). I would guess that he had probably had a difficult childhood or had served in the military. His stern tactics for raising his children seemingly had to have been learned from somewhere. Oddly, I felt that the father was a positive character. Ivan and Andrey both had serious character issues that needed to be ironed out. The father took the necessary measures in order to make them better people. Perhaps he dealt with them harshly, but we were seeing everything that was going on from the perspective of the two boys. He turned them from helpless, pouty, irresponsible little boys into young men by the time the movie was over.

Andrey seemed to idolize his father. He looked up to him for his strength and knowledge. Apparently, Andrey was desperate for a father figure in his life and he finally got the chance to have one. He definitely wanted to emulate his father. Andrey immediately started calling his father 'dad' and took orders from him without question. Whenever he talked back or did not stand up for himself his father disciplined him accordingly. Contrastingly, Ivan seemed to reject his father throughout the film. He was incredibly suspicious of him and did not trust him. When he could not get his way with his father he pouted. This tactic probably worked with his mother, but his father was not about to give into his son whenever his son became whiney. I found myself agreeing with the father's disiplinary tactics for Ivan as well (such as the time he left him outside by the road for a long period of time). Ivan needed to be shown that he would not always be able to get his way. The father also brought the brothers closer together. Apparently, they were not getting along too well at the beginning of the film. They got into fist fights and called each other names. However, by the end of the movie they were working together and seemingly enjoying each other's company.

I would say that we could never say without any doubt why the father came back or what he was trying to do on the trip. He was obviously attempting to retrieve something, but we never found out what that something was. Perhaps, that was one of the best aspects of this movie. I kind of liked not knowing for certain what the father was and what his intentions were. I would guess that he took his sons along in order to 'improve' them as much as he could. I felt as though he came home for whatever was in the box rather than to see his family again.

In my opinion, the title of this film was something of a paradox. The father made a return of sorts, but he certainly did not come back permanantly because he died. The boys also made a return trip home and came back as young men rather than little boys. Apparently, things would never return to the way that they once were. In some ways, I felt that this movie was a polar opposite of a return.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Danila was like the Angel of Death. He felt obligated to help and protect weaker people from stronger individuals that tried to exploit them. Danila probably used violence so much because he did not know how to do anything else to solve problems. After all, in the army he had been taught that the only way to deal with the enemy was to eliminate them using violence. However, he did not seem as though he wanted to use violence to create solutions to all of the problems that he encountered. After all, he could have easily killed Viktor, but instead sent him home to his mother and told him to become a police officer. Danila seemed to only want to use violence to punish the wicked. He clearly was creating his own enemies and most likely chose his enemies based on how dangerous they were to society or to those that he loved. The audience was most likely meant to 'cheer' for Danila because he was dealing violently with the scum of society. He seemingly gave them what they deserved.

His background as a soldier in the war against Chechnya made him a deadly killer. Danila had probably not been a clerk at headquarters but rather part of some special forces division that was given dangerous assignments. He always seemed calm when involved in threatening situations. The military had probably given Danila a great deal of training because he was comfortable around all sorts of weaponry. However, when he was in the military Danila probably had to kill people for 'impersonal' reasons. The Chechens that he was killing would most likely have caused Danila no personal harm had he not joined the military. Danila was more than a mobster because he was more than the blunt instrument that he had been in the military. Most hitmen probably killed without question, but Danila would not kill anybody that was 'innocent'. In a way, there was something almost robotic about Danila in the way that he seemed so detached about killing people and using violence. The war had probably made him numb to committing horrible acts of murder and abuse.

Music was Danila's only escape. Whenever he knew that he was going into dangerous situations Danila listened to music to calm himself down. Perhaps, music was the only thing that reminded him of how beautiful life could be. Danila seemed as though he was dead inside and music was the only thing in his life that made him feel alive. He connected with Cat and Sveta so well because they were like him in that they were more 'dead than alive'. Cat was broken to the point that drugs were the only thing that made her feel anything. Sveta was apparently forced to work as a trolley driver and as a hooker and was chillingly calm after she had been raped by Kruglyi's henchmen. She almost looked as though she was dead when Danila walked into the room. However, Sveta had sadly seemingly become used to being beaten and taken advantage of. The abuse that the sustained was most likely the only thing in her life that reminded her that she was alive.

The Russian world of the 1990's seemed much more chaotic than the Russian world of the 1980's. Apparently, the policemen could easily be former gangsters. There was apparently no order in the Russian world of the 1990's. Little Vera depicted police officers breaking up a fight and walking around with attack dogs. There was no such presence in Brother. Policemen were not anywhere to be found in this film. This was a 'Darwin-esque' world where the only rule that applied was 'survival of the fittest'. Apparently, in Russia in the 1990's the strong would thrive and the weak would be exploited. Brother created this atmosphere on multiple occasions. Perhaps, the best example of this occured when the two thugs riding the electric trolley refused to pay for their tickets. Had Danila not helped the ticket collector, the two thugs would have had a free ride because the ticket collector would not have been able to make them pay for their tickets. Also, Nemets would have had his wares stolen by a thug had Danila not been there to save him. Russia had seemingly gone from being the land of Karl Marx to being the land of Charles Darwin.

Foreigners were portrayed in a negative light in this film. Americans were maybe seen as having been responsible for Russia's poor state of affairs. Also, foreigners were portrayed as being ignorant to Russians. This was perhaps best shown when Danila went up to the French man at the nightclub and harassed him. The French man's techno music was not compatible with the Russian spirit. The two Westerners that asked for directions to a nightclub also seemed to view Danila with a sort of condescending air. Perhaps, Brother captured the Russian feeling during this time that they were looked down upon by the rest of the world because of their poor economy.

There were definitely scenes from Brother were definitely artistic in the way that they seemed to capture the spirit of St. Petersburg (and Russia on a larger scale). Danila traveled all over the city. The audience was shown shots of the market, appartments, stores, and night clubs. There were also many ornate buildings on occasion in the background of shots that served as reminders of either Russia's Tsarist or Soviet past. Brother did not seem to hold anything back in regard to the storyline so one would naturally assume that nothing was attempted to be portrayed in a certain way in regard to the city. This movie just seemed to show St. Petersburg as St. Petersburg probably was.


Alexander Dovzhenko's background as an artist was immediately apparent to me. Every shot in this movie was like a painting; I had never seen anything like this in a movie before. He opened the movie by showing some beautiful shots of the open sky over vast farm fields before making numerous shots of fruit on trees. I thought that Dovzhenko used the sky to sometimes portray the mood of the movie. For example, when trouble was brewing between the poor and rich farmers Dovzhenko created many shots of a sky filled with swirling dark clouds. At the end of the movie, he also filmed during a rainstorm. I felt that this was to symbolize that the people of the Soviet Union had been 'washed clean' by the revolution and could start a new, 'better' life. However, perhaps his most amazing shots were those featuring fruit. When the fruit became ripe, people picked and ate the fruit and then the fruit grew back. This was similar to how Dovzhenko portrayed life and death. When a character in the movie died, children were always shown along with them and in the case of Basil a baby was born (after his death). In other words, Dovzhenko was apparently saying that people were like fruit in that they would die once their usefulness had passed and that new people would be born to take their places. This notion also spoke to the strength of the 'collective' unit that the communist people were supposed to be.

This movie began with a man named Simon dying. The young people around Simon seemed to be nervous, or to be at a loss for words. However, old Peter shared Simon's casual attitude toward death (although he was curious about what would happen to Simon when he died). Simon seemed to choose his death and Dovzhenko depicted his death as a peaceful one. Naturally, after Simon died there were many shots of children eating. This was probably to place emphasis on the fact that although the death of one man should be seen as sorrowful the youth of young people should also be seen as joyful. In my opinion, Dovzhenko almost seemed to be saying that individual people were not important in comparison to the collective 'unit' of society. I would go so far as to say that this was the most 'communist' film that I have ever seen.

When a new tractor arrived to the farms Dovzhenko likened the people that were watching the tractor with curiosity to animals. This may have been to show that the poor farmers were as ignorant as animals in regard to the technological might of the Soviet Union. I could not believe how happy people were to see the tractor. Also, I found myself doubting how reasonable this portrayal actually was. I highly doubt that the Soviet government supplied the mandated collective farms with the necessary machinery to make them thrive. This seemed more like propaganda geared toward farmers to me than anything else. The way that people were portrayed working in this film was also propaganda aimed at influencing farmers (as was most of the movie). I highly doubt that women would be smiling all day as they were bundling up crops. The technology that Dovzhenko displayed that was used in making bread served to show that the Soviet Union was advanced and strong. To me, the scenes involving technology said, "The Soviet Union has the strength to provide for its citizens."

Rich farmers bore the brunt of the losses during collectivization. I almost felt bad for them because they had probably worked hard for what they had and yet they were forced to sustain heavy losses during this peroid. Basil made the conflict between the rich and poor farmers boil over by destorying their fence with his tractor. In a way, the poor farmers almost seemed to be robbing the rich farmers. They had probably always dreamed of taking their neighbor's land and now they finally had the chance to do so. After, Basil had been murdered Christianity (and all religion) was portrayed in an extremely negative light. First of all, Simon never told Peter where he went after he died which would lead one to believe that there was no after life. Then, the priest was seen cursing the collective; asking God to kill them all for their lack of faith. This was not a very Christian desire in the first place. However, as the collective farmers were marching they were displayed as having more power than God and more power than the rich farmer. I thought they were almost displayed as being the most powerful force on Earth. God, and the individual were portrayed as powerless.

The only line that stuck with me from this movie was the one delivered by the rich farmer at the end of the movie when he screamed, "It's my Earth!". The notion of owning the Earth seems very silly and this was pointed out in the movie. However, this fed into the communist idea that all men were the equal owners of all of the Earth. I was also surprised by the naked woman at the end of the movie. In my opinion, the shots involving her were pointless. She was not seen at her husband's - Basil's - funeral but rather running around her room naked lamenting his death. I would guess that Dovzhenko - being the artist that he was - simply wanted to have a few shots of the female nude. After all, in art the nude female body has often been seen as one of the most beautiful entities. I could not see any other reason for this being placed in the film.

Perhaps, some of the most striking aspects of this movie were the music and acting. The music was intense and helped set the mood for every scene. I could not help feeling that the music from the film had been dragging me along to the grand climax at the end where all of the poor farmers marched out to bury Basil. However, the acting of this movie was what made this such a fascinating movie to me. None of the acting was overdone (like an Eisenstein or Bauer film). I felt as though I was watching a normal movie. From facial expressions and body language I could tell exactly what they characters were saying and almost thought I could perceive what they were feeling as well. The talents of the actor that played 'Panas - Basil's father - had the greatest impact on me. His eyes actually looked 'watery' after his son had been murdered. He almost seemed as though he wanted to cry but he was unable to. The fact that a scene of this quality was produced in 1930 was amazing to me. I also had absolutely no problem with Dovzhenko's use of montage. Once again, I felt as though I was watching a 'normal' movie. Perhaps, the only weakness of this movie was the dialogue. In most cases, the lines were lame, and unartistic. I thought that the movie would have been fine without any dialogue at all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Little Vera

Little Vera depicted citizens of the Soviet Union as they actually may have been. Moscow and Lenningrad were huge cities but millions of Russians did not live there. Economic conditions would have probably been more difficult outside of large cities due to the lack of jobs. The large majority of young people in the movie simply could not find work. Also, in my opinion every character in this movie displayed significant flaws. One of the main 'rallying cries' for communism was that in a communist society everyone would be doing equal work for equal pay. The large majority of characters from films that we have previously watched were not portrayed as 'flawed' to the extent that characters in Little Vera were. In my opinion, this movie highlighted that the Soviet Union was not a utopian country with perfect citizens but rather a floundering nation compromised of ordinary people with ordinary problems.

I immediately noticed how run down everything looked and how little space there was in Vera's parent's appartment. The dormitory that Sergei lived in had rooms that were seemingly not rennovated since Stalin was in power (they were rustic). Also, the young people seemingly had no public places to go to socialize. They either loitered around outside, visited the beach, or went to the cafe. Vera and her friends never went to a club, or a pool hall, or any other place that Westerners may have gone to have fun; for the most part they just sat around and talked. Contrastingly, characters from Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears were always doing some sort of activity. Katya went to an art musuem and Lyudmila went to a library. Granted, there was probably more to do in Moscow, but there seemed to be more forms of entertainment available to them than characters from Little Vera. Apparently, Katya's appartment when she became the director of the factory was either uncommonly fancy or else unrealistic. Her appartment had much more space and nicer appliances than that of Vera's parent's appartment. Katya's appartment seemed new and tidy while Vera's parent's home was dirty and old in comparison.

This was also the first film where alcohol comsumption was depicted in a negative light. Vera's father turned into a sulky, abusive person when he drank. He definitely beat Vera and Viktor when they were children. Vera's father also used unbelievable language to harass his wife and Vera when he was drinking. For that matter, the entire family addressed each other using terms that were not becoming of people that were supposed to love each other. In my opinion, Sergei seemed to be unable to control his sarcasm while he was drinking while Vera turned into even more of a depressed, selfish brat than she normally was otherwise. Little Vera also dealt with and portrayed violence, drug use, and sex in a negative light. Vera and Sergei's relationship was seemingly based upon sex and jokes. Once they tried to become serious with each other - as Sergei tried to be with her on the beach - their relationship seemingly faltered. Had Vera actually become pregnant, or one of them had aids, they would have probably run into some serious problems. Tolik definitely got into trouble for his mindlessly violent behavior and Vera's father should have gotten himself into legal problems for stabbing Sergei. However, Vera's father seemingly deserved what he got when he had to deal with the psychological effects his actions had on his family as well as himself. Also, Andrei's attempted violent rape of Vera was clearly depicted in a negative light. Obviously, Vera's effort to overdose on pills toward the end of the movie portrayed the dangers of drug use. However, all of these occurences take place in all societies. Little Vera merely portrayed the more somber happenstances of life in the Soviet Union that other movies had previously either been unwilling or unable to do.

In my estimation, nobody in this movie was a sympathetic character. All of the characters were selfish and were only concerned with things that pertained to them. Vera's parents were only concerned with their own lives. They were clueless as to what their children were up to. All that they probably cared about were their jobs - which they were incapable of dealing with - and old traditions. If any characters in this film had to be singled out for being responsible for the family's problems Vera's parents should be at the forefront. Vera and Viktor were merely products of their environments. I am sure that Vera's parents probably had taxing jobs, but they could have dealt with their jobs in other ways than abusing alcohol and raising their children in such a poor fashion. Vera seemingly buried herself in books and rebellious activities when she was a girl whereas Viktor probably stopped actually caring about any of his family members an extremely long time ago. Viktor most likely only came back out of some nagging sense of obligation. He would never introduce his wife and child to his family because he was either embarassed or did not want to 'tarnish' them by having them come into contact with his family. Sergei, Andrei, and Tolik were seemingly slaves to their desires. They were perhaps less responsible for all of the problems in the movie, but they certainly did not help to get rid of them either. Andrei and Sergei were both infatuated with Vera and Sergei could not control his disdain for the 'older generation'. Tolik simply could not harnass his violent nature. He was constantly fighting with people because he could not control his anger.

I felt that this movie could have represented social problems that any modern working-class family has to deal with. Working-class families tend to have parents with more physically taxing jobs and economic troubles. The very fact that a working-class family was depicted as 'broken' in this movie was ironic. This was supposed to be the ideal family that all Soviets were supposed to aspire to and yet there was nothing even remotely ideal about Vera's family. Apparently, Little Vera served as evidence to one of the main reasons why the Soviet Union ultimately broke up; the 'working-class' simply ceased to be able to function.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Commissar

Commissar Vavilova had to go through many transitions after she temporarily left the army to have her baby. She had to deal with the lack of control that she had. When she was leading her troops she seemingly had the final word on decisions. Contrastingly, Vailova had to be cared for by the Mahazannik family (especially while she was having her baby). She seemed to be afraid of not having control. After all, she did not have any control over her husband's death and she could not make her communist ideals a reality on her own.

Maria seemed to turn Vavilova back into a woman. At first, Commissar Vailova wore manly clothes, swore frequently, and was rather stoic. Maria taught her about child-bearing and helped her get in touch with her feminine side by making her see the joys of motherhood. Apparently, Maria's husband was much less 'subdued' than she was. Yefim was a man that spoke his mind and said things as he perceived them. He had no reservations about making comments that were unacceptable to society. In my opinion, an excellent example of this occured when Yefim challenged Vavilova's communist ideology when they were in the shelter hiding from the White Army. He made her realize that the 'truth' that she clung to desperately would probably never become a reality. This was further made apparent by the horrifying scene of the Mahazannik family being marched into a concentration camp.

The children seemed to highlight the folly of the adults. Apparently, when the three younger children attacked the oldest daughter they were symbolizing the pointless folly of the way that the Jews were persecuted in Russia. I found myself getting mad at the little kids because they took their 'games' much too far. Yefim shocked me by merely saying a few harsh words to the children and then going off on how somebody he knew - a relative I believe - had his head cut off by a scissors. In my opinion, the children illustrated how senseless the violence and persecution in Russia were. The young man playing with his gun in the beginning of the movie helped solidify my stance on this issue. People treated weapons as if they were toys in this movie (which they obviously are not).

Some of the imagery from The Commissar reminded me of the style Tarkovsky used in Mirror. Particularily, the dillusional dream that Klavdia had while she was having her baby. Horses galloping around without riders seemingly signified how so many people were lost in the fighting. Also, the horses were chaotic and uncontrolled in a way that was similar to the way Russia was chaotic and uncontrolled during the Bolshevik Revolution. The blind man that was helpessly walking around seemingly illustrated how the Bolshevik rebels were really more interested in self-preservation during the war than the philosophy of 'one for all and all for one'. The mad dash from the desert to the water further displayed that the soldiers had no interest in the well-being of each other at times.

This film challenged the possible perfection of communist society. Whereas Chapaev portrayed the beginnings of a utopian society with ideal communists The Commissar seemingly sought to display that people were flawed and that society would never become like one of the fairy-tales that Yefim was so fond of. This movie was probably banned in the 1960's because of the way in which a perfect Soviet society was shown to not be able to exist at any point. Perhaps the main message that I took away from The Commissar would be that people will never be equal and society can never be perfect because humans are not perfect.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears

The three main female characters of this movie were apparently all very different from each other. I was immediately struck by how naive the young Katya and Lyudmila were as opposed to Antonina. Tonya - Antonina - did not seem to harbor any illusions about life. She struck me as a practical person. Perhaps, she realized Nikolai could not provide her with the most glamorous life; but she seemed to know that life was not a fairy-tale. She was willing to work hard for her happiness. Both of her friends constantly told her how lucky she was to have such a 'perfect relationship'. I would guess that there were times in her marriage where things were not so perfect but she perservered through them. She may not have been the most successful of the three, but she made a nice life for herself. Lyudmila seemed to be just the opposite. Apparently, she wanted only the best for herself and was unwilling to settle for anything less. IN my opinion, she walked around with stars in her eyes throughout the entire movie. When Sergei Gurin failed to deliver the lavish lifestyle that she had always dreamed of living she became disillusioned with him and divorced him. For the rest of the movie, she was focused on winning the lottery and winning a trophy husband. Her odds of achieving either were slim to none and she was clearly unhappy later in life. Katya seemed naive and almost too kind at first. She was willing to be pushed around by Lyudmila and Rodion. Unfortunately for her, because of her inability to stand her ground she had to live an extremely hard life. I did not feel as though she made a 'breakthrough' until she met Gosha. Even shortly before she met him she stooped so low as to have a relationship with a married man. Katya struck me as a character that was a little uncomfortable in her own skin; which was ironic because she was obviously pretty and smart.

Gosha was a man. In other words, he was the embodiment of all of the stereotypes that society feeds to us -men - about what we should be. He was perceptive, tough, guarded, knowledgeable, and helpful. If I had to some him up in one word, I would probably use the word 'manly'. His somewhat 'old school' notions of being the master of his house and asserting himself into every aspect of his relationship with Katya helped to strengthen my opinion. Gosha stood up for himself and was not about to let anybody else push him around or tell him what to do. Fortunately, he rubbed off on Katya and showed her how to take a stance for herself. He also gave Sasha the father that she had never had. When Sasha was having problems in her life Gosha helped her. He had a no-nonsense attitude with her which I felt was exactly what she needed. Gosha was not about to run out on either of them at the first sign of trouble; as opposed to Roidon. However, he ended up leaving them for a little while because he felt insignificant. Gosha and Roidon were different because Gosha came back. He did not care 'what' Katya was but rather 'who' she was. Ultimately, he was willing to compromise and work for his happiness (which was what Katya wanted as well).

Although I was somewhat surprised that Katya fell for Gosha I had no problem believing the plausibility of their relationship. I instantly recognized from the first time that Gosha was introduced that he was a gentleman. He was not like the swine from her previous relationships that seemingly were only interested in forcing themselves on her. Katya was nice but she did not have any gumption. I had no problem seeing a kind person being in a relationship with another kind person.

The 1950's seemed to be about as naive of a time period as Katya and Lyudmila were during that period. I was particularly interested by the scene around the dinner table in Katya's uncle's appartment because the 'new generation' was pitted against the 'old generation'. The radical poet claimed that his generation would have stood up to Stalin. However, the old man just seemingly shrugged him off knowing that he could not possibly have known what people of his generation had to go through under Stalin. Ideals are great to have. But, under the terrible reign of Stalin I doubt that the idealistic poet would have lived up to his claim. Everyone also seemed to be happy and young during the 1950's as opposed to how sedated and old they seemed in the 1970's. This may have signified the agining of the Soviet Union as well. In the 1970's people did not seem to harbor any illusions about anything. They seemed more wize and realistic.

Also, I really liked one of the messages that this film gave. Characters in this movie had lives that were torn apart. They reached seemingly unattainable highs only to hit abysmal lows. Katya went from having a financially secure, interesting boyfriend and living in a grand appartment to being a single mother studying for school and working in a factory. The scene where she was falling asleep studying for school had a particularly great impact on me. I have worked in factories before and could relate to just how taxing that work can be. I cannot imagine what she had to go through studying for school and raising a child as well. However, she was down and she picked herself up again. The message of this movie was seemingly that one has to be persistent in life because there will be highs and lows. Even Sergei Gurin resurrected his life after he seemed to be destined to be a deadbeat for the rest of his existence. If anything, this movie proved that there can always be new beginnings.