July 11, 2003
Writer/director Aleksandr Rogozhkin sets this film in September 1944, a pivotal period of World War II for Finland. As one of the allies of Nazi Germany during the war, Finland was trying to use this alliance to reclaim territory that the U.S.S.R. had taken from them in a 1939 invasion.
The movie is set in the northern wastelands of Russia and follows a romantic triangle that occurs between a local Lapp reindeer farmer and two soldiers from opposite sides of the war. One of them, a young, handsome sniper who has deserted from the Finnish army, and the other, a Soviet Army captain that she is nursing back to health. Another twist, none of them can understand each other’s language, but we can understand all three of them through subtitles. This language barrier leads to some humorous, as well as tense, situations.
This film was an early contender as Russia’s entry in the 2003 Academy Awards Foreign Language Film category. Their official film board eventually chose to submit House of Fools instead. Even with this setback, it has still managed to get its share of other awards at various film festival competitions. (Marty Doskins/BOP)