Monday, May 23, 2011
Dir: Alexei Uchitel.
Am currently exploring some gems of Russian cinema at the moment, and with great relish, for today I watched 'The Edge' which was almost as good as 'Kukushka', and 'Island' which was not so good.
In 'The Edge', Ignat (see image above) is a former steam-locomotive engine-driver who having returned from fighting the Germans during the war, finds himself at the edge of civilisation in a labour camp, some where in Siberia. Regarded as a war hero by the people in the camp, he soon begins to make enemies, not least because he is a belligerent man prone to punching people. The local beauty Sofia takes a shine to him, but Ignat is restless and sets out to retrieve a locomotive which has been stranded on the far side of a broken bridge. When he arrives at the abandoned loco, Ignat finds a run away German girl, named Elsa, living in it. Having already caused tensions in the camp with his attitude and relationship to Sofia, Ignat really puts the cat amongst the pigeons when he returns with the German girl.
Not as funny as 'Kukushka', 'The Edge' still has a typically Russian feel to it, with plenty of humour, violence, sexual tension, emotion and poignancy. Like so many other Russian films (for example both 'Kukushka' and 'Island'), 'The Edge' deals with post war motifs, focusing on communication difficulties, the hardships of life and general decay of infrastructure during the Soviet era, but most of all, with interpersonal relationships between flawed or broken people.