Silent Souls

Silent Souls  {Ovsyanki}
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Silent Souls
Russia, 2010, 75 Minute Running Time
Topics: Drama, Erotic, Experimental, Road Movie, Romance
Program: World Cinema Now
Language: Russian English Sub-Titles

Awards: Winner of Best Cinematography in Venice IFF 2010

The rites and rituals of the Merja people, an ethnic minority once resident in the Volga region of Russia, form the backbone of this lyrical, dreamlike movie about love and loss. After his beloved wife Tanja dies, Miron calls on his best friend, called Aist to help him in his final goodbye. As the ravishingly photographed story unfolds, it becomes apparent that Aist and Tanja were once more than friends.

Tanja's body is prepared lovingly by the two men, who wordlessly and expertly observe the ancient rituals, Then she is wrapped in a blanket and laid in the back seat of the car for the long trip to the riverbank where they will cremate her remains. Water plays a central role in the film, and in Merja life. Merja people felt great respect for the water, the film explains, and there is no death better than by drowning — although no Merjan would ever drown himself, because it would be impolite to pass others on the way to heaven. Along the way, the Merja myths and traditions transform the movie into a haunting fairy tale. Winner, Best Cinematography, Venice Film Festival; Best Film, Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

DIRECTOR: Aleksei Fedorchenko
Producer: Igor Mishin, Mary Nazari
Editor: Sergei Ivanov, Anna Vergun
Screenwriter: Denis Osokin, based on novel "The Buntings" by Aist Sergeyev
Cinematographer: Mikhail Krichman
Music: Andrei Karasyov
Principal Cast: Igor Sergeyev, Yuri Tsurilo, Yuliya Aug, Ivan Tushin
Filmography: The Railway (2007), Fist on the Moon (2005)
Print Source: Shadow Distribution -

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