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Harvest Time-Movie Review 06/25/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Drama, Movies, Russian language film.

Harvest Time (Russian) 2004

Winner, FIPRESCI Prize; also Russian Film Critics Award – Special Mention (Marina Razbezhkina), Moscow International Film Festival
Winner, Prize Trieste (Marina Razbezhkina), Trieste Film Festival
Winner, Silver Alexander; also Special Artistic Achievement (Marina Razbezhkina), Thessaloniki Film Festival
Nominated, European Discovery of the Year (Marina Razbezhkina), European Film Awards

Written and directed by Marina Razbezhkina
Starring Lyudmila Motornaya, Vyacheslav Batrakov, Dmitri Yermokov, and Dmitri Yakovlev; narrated by Sergei Starostin

A family of four – mother Antonina (Motornaya), father Gennady (Batrakov), and two boys, Vanya (Yakovlev) and Kolya (Yermokov) – lives on a collective farm in Russia in the 1950s. The younger son, who is mostly silent as a child, narrates the story as an adult.

Family life takes place in close quarters in a small house, along with animals of various sorts. The father, like many in the local community, was wounded in the war; although he has no legs, he still shares a lighthearted approach to life with his sons. The mother contributes to the collective by driving the harvester. She wins an award for her hard work as best combine operator, the only female to do so. Her award is a Challenge Red Banner, however, and not the bolt of beautiful calico fabric she would have liked. When the officials arrive for the award ceremony, the father falls for the guest singer. Family life goes downhill as the mother becomes jealous and the father starts drinking all the time.

With occasional moments of humor, the short film offers a portrait of strong people overwhelmed by the circumstances in which they live. I found it moving and interesting, but not uplifting.

67 min. Not rated. Adult themes.



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