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Dolgie provody (A Long Goodbye)

Posted by martinteller on July 27, 2015

My first film by Soviet director Kira Muratova studies the strained relationship between translator Yevgeniya Vasilyevna (Zinaida Sharko) and her withdrawn teenage son Ustinov (Oleg Vladimirsky).  Ustinov is planning to live with his more permissive father, and Yevgeniya tries to prevent his departure in ways that make her unsympathetic.  But Ustinov is no saint either, sullen in that kind of aimlessly defiant way that teenagers often are.  The film is most remarkable for its sound design, often emphasizing the generation gap (such as when two different strains of music compete for the soundtrack) or lack of communication, sometimes by dropping out the sound completely, and sometimes by introducing snatches of circular, repetitive dialogue.  The chasm between mother and son is further emphasized by the apartment they occupy, which places them in closed quarters and yet still distant.  However, Muratova’s seemingly cynical view of the inability for these characters to connect (or really, any two characters in the film) is tempered by a somewhat more hopeful ending.  Rating: Very Good (82)

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