DVD Review: Silent Souls

STUDIO: Zeitgeist | DIRECTOR: Aleksey Fedorchenko | CAST: Yuri Tsurilo, Igor Sergeyev, Yuliya Aug, Viktor Sukhorukov
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 2/26/2013 | PRICE: DVD $29.95
BONUSES: none
SPECS: NR | 78 min. | Foreign language drama | 2.35:1 widescreen | stereo | Russian with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

Russian filmmaker Aleksey Fedorchenko’s 2010 film Silent Souls is a spectacularly photographed combination of the modern road movie and ancient ritual drama.

Silent Soul movie scene

Igor Sergeyev takes it on the road in Silent Souls.

Aist (Igor Sergeyev) and Miron (Yuri Tsurilo) are co-workers in the Russian village of Neya, a remnant of the Meyrans, a Finnish tribe that, centuries ago, was assimilated into the dominant Slavic culture. When Miron announces that his young wife, Tanya (Yuliya Aug), has died suddenly, the two men remove the body and embark on a journey to dispose of it according to ancient Meyran tradition. No road trip, of course, is complete without animal companions, in this case two buntings (or plain birds).

Along the way, Miron begins “smoking,” a custom of compulsively talking about the deceased to reveal one’s true feelings. The trip becomes a journey into the collective Meyran unconscious as when they pass their great city of Molachai (“our Paris”), which has been absorbed into the suburbs of a larger modern city.

The performances in Silent Souls capture the stoic, hardened nature of the people that are depicted, mystical undertone aside. The real stars, however, are cinematographer Mikhail Krichman and his magnificent visuals of West-Central Russia; misty landscapes, dirt roads, modern superhighways and, most importantly, the waterways (“Rivers carry away grief.”)

Silent Souls is a fascinating look at how civilizations are layered on top of each other. Clocking in at a lean 75 minutes , it is poetic and painterly in the Russian art film style and works as an easy, accessible introduction to that style.

 

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.