Harvest Time (Contemporary World Cinema)
2004 - Russia - 67 min.
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DIRECTOR: Marina Razbezhkina
CAST: Ludmila Motornaya, Vy Acheslav Batrakov, Dima Yakovlev
Told through the memories of a son killed in Afghanistan, longtime documentary and shorts filmmaker Marina Razbezhkina in her feature debut employs an impressionistic and poetic style, reminiscent of both the late Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror and the Dovzhenko classic Earth. in reworking the cliché Soviet kolhoz “heroine of labor” drama into a poignant and absurdist look at Russian peasant life from today’s perspective. Set in a small Chuvash village in the Volga area around l950, lovely tractor driver Antonina is the long suffering breadwinner to support her sons and her husband Gennady who returned legless from from World War II. To honor her hard work—she’s the best driver on the farm—the State awards her the Red Flag, a treasured velvet banner with a gold fringe that becomes an exasperating curse as mice reduce the family prize to tatters. So she is forced to continue winning the banner every year to keep it intact, and the authorities at bay, as the narrator, one of Antonina’s now adult-sons, explains. The wistful rural folk chronicle is a gentle homage to life on the collective farm, with sparse dialog and fulsome peasant song, long on compassion for women’s lot in once-Sovietland and nostalgia for a misplaced piece of red velvet with a tattered yellow fringe. (The film is “a small wonder” wrote Toronto Film fest critic Dmitri Epides) Born in 1956. She graduated from the Kazan University as philologist. She served in regional and foreign newspapers as a journalist. Author of numerous scripts. In 1989 she directed her first documentary. Her non-fiction works won various awards at national and international film festivals. Member of the Russian Film Academy. "The Harvest Time" is her first feature. -Al Milgrom
PRODUCER: Tatiana Kanaeva, Natalya Zheltuhina
SCREENWRITER: Marina Razbezhkina
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Irina Uralskaya
EDITOR: Tatyana Naidyonova
MUSIC: Anton Sylaev
SPECIAL INFO: Best Film, 2004 Moscow International Film Festival
PRINT SOURCE: Intercinema-Art Legacy