As effective in impact as it is simple in concept, documentary “Bread Day” uses the grizzled elderly inhabitants of an abandoned workers’ settlement in northern Russia to make a devastating visual comment on the country as a whole. Sergei Dvortsevoy’s hourlong film is a tragicomedy that would be surreal if it were not true. Already a prize winner at several East Euro fests, pic is well worth a look as a curiosity item, though may be too static for TV crossover.
Filmers visited the dilapidated Township No. 3 on the one day every week when a train arrived bringing loaves of bread. At the junction, the conductor detaches a carriage and the old folks laboriously push it for miles over a rusty , snow-clogged rail to home sweet home. There a growling lady running the town store ungraciously exchanges the bread for their pensions. Pic’s student origins show in the drawn-out, real-time editing, which makes viewers suffer along with the wagon pushers. There’s also some facile cuteness with goats and dogs – apparently a reminder that the humans don’t have it much better than the animals.