DIRECTED BY: GENNADIJ SIDOROV, 100 MIN
After all the young people have left because there is no work, a small
village near Kostroma is populated by twelve old women. They all wait
– most of the time unsuccessfully – for their small pension
and have to find ways to make ends meet. Bartering is the main means of
trade – they all stick together. When one of them dies, the others
dig her grave. Mikolka, who suffers from Down’s Syndrome, also lives
with the women; every once in a while, Major Fyodor and a few soldiers
from the nearby garrison stop by and bring some life to the village.
Cast mostly with first-time actors, the film has a documentary feel to
it. A fictional plot develops when a family of refugees from Uzbekistan
(played by Tajiks, whose dialogue is not subtitled) moves to the village.
The women observe them with great scepticism. Just as the refugees have
settled, Mikolka – who takes the women’s xenophobic talk seriously
– sets fire to their house. Converted by the tragedy in their midst,
the villagers begin to develop a friendship with the new arrivals.
When a woman causes jealousy between Fyodor and one of his soldiers, the
old women hide the soldier over night. As he can’t endure the harassments
any longer, the soldier wants to quit service – therefore, they
accompany him to the station.
The film, which paints a picture of Russian country-folk, ends with a
Caligari: 25.04. / 8 p.m.
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