The Father

A WWII officer returns to discover family and peacetime aren't much to his liking.

With:
With: Alexei Guskov, Polina Kutepova, Svetlana Ivanova, Vassily Prokopiev.

A WWII officer returns to discover family and peacetime aren’t much to his liking in the ultra-traditional Russian meller “The Father.” Pic is based on an Andrei Platonov short story whose indictment of the conflict’s emotional toll was too strong for the postwar Russian government, but pic’s existence renders the point universal. Story’s connection to Ernest Hemingway — he translated the long-banned seven pages and professed influence from them — could attract literate auds, though stolid drama seems best for fests, regional play and niche ancillary.En route home, Captain Alexei Ivanov (Alexei Guskov, also co-producer) meets pregnant young soldier Masha (Svetlana Ivanova) and pretends to be her husband so her family will reaccept her. Later, he grows bored with his wife, Lyuba (Polina Kutepova), and two kids, and suspicious of Lubya’s faithfulness during his absence. Acting honors go to young nonpro Vassili Prokopiev, whose stern orders to mother and sister, honed during dad’s absence, steal pic outright. Tech package is solid, though the almost operatic decay of the production design seems too expansive for focused drama. Pic’s May 9 domestic release coincided with Russia’s commemoration of WWII’s cessation, called Victory Day.

The Father

Russia

Production: A Mentor Cinema Film Co. production. (International sales: Mentor Cinema Film Co., Moscow.) Produced by Ivan Solovov, Alexei Guskov, Sergei Shumakov. Directed by Ivan Sololov. Screenplay, Natalya Chepik, Irakli Kviridadze, based on the short story "Return" by Andrei Platonov.

Crew: Camera (color), Vladimir Klimov; editor, Maria Francesca Kalvelli; music, Alexei Ribnikov. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (competing), Aug. 31, 2007. Original title: Otets. Running time: 84 MIN.

With: With: Alexei Guskov, Polina Kutepova, Svetlana Ivanova, Vassily Prokopiev.

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