1945, Leningrad. WWII has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Two young women search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.
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1945, Leningrad. World War II has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Although the siege - one of the worst in history - is finally over, life and death continue their battle in the wreckage that remains. Two young women, Iya and Masha, search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins. 26-year-old Kantemir Balagov follows TESNOTA, winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, with a powerful period drama.
Dylda a.k.a. "Beanpole" is heavy, intense, bleak and yet a surprisingly hopeful film from Kantemir Balagov. It chronicles the life of Iya a.k.a. Dylda because of her uncommon height and gangly posture and how she navigates the tricky terrain of surviving in post-war Leningrad. The aftereffects of war seem more devastating than when war was ongoing. A semblance of normalcy actually was the most painful realization of empty lives and meaningless selves. The story at times reminded me of films such as Beyond the Hills, Disobedience and An Elephant Sitting Still. The will to survive in an unforgiving environment had to be ferociously performed, yet there are societal dimensions that keep people from their own version of happiness. The two first-time actresses truly fleshed out their characters' hunger for connection. Is there a way out of this affective blockage post-war Leningrad imposed on common women? The one thing I noticed too is that characters are neither drawn as evil or good, just people whose morality and human nature tip where circumstances point towards.
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