Perhaps if I were Russian I’d have more feelings toward this film. It’s won every award imaginable, I left thinking, “yeah, that was pretty good.”

The first 90 minutes feature and an extended family and group of artists at a collective colony out in the country. It the Stalin years, pre-WWII.

An old(ish) war hero and his young bride are up there and all is well until her old lover returns. What follows is a fairly classic character-driven tale of romantic upheavals. Almost British is its presentation.

The final 30 minutes, though, take an odd political turn. Stalin’s purges come down hard and we realize (Spoilers) that the returned lover is actually there to take the old man away for giving secrets to the Germans. Violence concludes the tale. A closing crawl implies that the dude wasn’t actually giving secrets away. Tugs on the heartstings a bit, I guess, but hardly angered up the blood. In Russia, in 1994, that was a different story I am sure.

Most Russian films I’ve ever seen (Soviet or not) are very technical, very formal. This is not. (It is also a French co-production.) Just saying, is all.