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August 4, 2020 | Rome, Italy

Silent Souls

By | 2018-03-21T18:49:33+01:00 May 23rd, 2012|Reviews|

2.5

Date: 2010

Director: Aleksei Fedorchenko

Starring: Yuri Tsurilo, Igor Sergeyev, Yuliya Aug

Love, loss and friendship help frame Russian director Aleksei Fedorchenko’s third feature film. Miron (Yuri Tsurilo) asks employee and friend Aist (Igor Sergeyev) to accompany him on a funerary road trip in keeping with the rites and customs of his ancient pre-Christian tribe, the Merja. Miron’s wife Tanya (Yuliya Aug) has died and he wants to cremate her body near the banks of the Oka River she loved. With Tanya’s corpse in the back and Aist in front with his caged birds, the twosome rolls from the small industrial village of Neya into the countryside. They’re like an American Gothic couple on often dialogue-less road trip. Miron at times recalls Tanya, which prompts narrator Aist to remember his youth and long-lost parents. Recollections of love hold grief at bay.

Though Fedorchenko has a keen and sensitive understanding of the human condition, the long silences are compounded by overall visual bleakness. Beauty is too often concealed. And there is some, including Aist’s old typewriter, the patchwork façade of his home, the faces and bodies of characters, and the river itself, bathed in golden light.

The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice Film Festival and is based Denis Osokin’s 2008 novella.

About the Author:

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Judy Edelhoff launched and became producer of a series of prestigious lectures on history, politics, arts and culture televised nationally from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Previously worked in for the Folger Shakespeare Library. In Rome, she served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. Her interest in cuisine has included collaboration with Italian chefs and master chefs, including the prestigious French Laundry in Napa Valley. She is a native Floridian and later Washington, D.C. resident.

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