In association with Kino Kino!
Language: In Russian with English subtitles
Russia | 2008 | 118 min. | col | dir. Alexey Gherman Jr. | cast Merab Ninidze, Chulpan Khamatova, Anastasya Sheveleva
It is 1961 and in a remote stretch of land in Kazakhstan, the preparations to launch the first human into space are underway. Dr. Daniel Pokrovsky is in charge of the wellbeing of the cosmonauts and he is increasingly concerned about their safety as well as suffering from his own health concerns. He is also torn romantically between his wife in Moscow and a young girl in Kazakhstan.
Paper Soldier may at first glance sound like a Russian The Right Stuff but its poetic mix of history, political discourse, philosophical discussion and human drama make it far closer in tone to the films of Andrei Tarkovsky with a slight nod to Federico Fellini as well. The fluid camera drifts over the colour-drained action to capture the strange mix of characters and objects that fill the frame. Characters talking off screen suddenly walk into a close-up shot and then move into the background, by which time the focus has switched to anotheIr element that has appeared in the shot from either the background or off camera. The ambient background sounds, perfectly balanced cinematography, and thematic mix of the personal and the political make Paper Soldier a very beautiful and meditative film that is played out against a dreamlike, mist-filled landscape.
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