Director: Kira Muratova
Cast: Sergey Bekhterev, Nina Ruslanova, Natalya Buzko
Russia, Ukraine, 2002, 120’, black & white
Russian with Turkish subtitles
Based on two works by Chekhov, the play Tatiana Repina and the short story Difficult People, Chekhov's Motifs is a fascinating diptych, two parts that share characters but on the surface little else. The film begins as a young man returns to his small village to borrow money, a request that sets off a bitter confrontation between him and his father. The long-suffering wife (and mother) can do little but look on. Kira Muratova powerfully captures the emotional rawness of this generational confrontation, exposing a wide array of issues and prejudices. After the son runs out of the house, he walks into a wedding service taking place in the local Orthodox Church. The groom is an overweight opera singer, and the bride and her family are grotesque examples of Russia's nouveaux riches. Yet the point here is less satire perhaps than Muratova's meticulous rendition of the entire ceremony, refusing the spectator a comfortable distance from which to judge these characters by bringing us into the world of the film itself.
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