|THE CUCKOO (KUKUSHKA) (director/writer:
cinematographer: Andrei Zhegalov; editor: Yuliya
Rumyantseva; music: Dmitri Pavlov; cast: Anni-Kristiina Juuso (Anni),
(Ivan); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating:
PG-13; producer: Sergey Selyanov; Sony
Pictures Classics; 2002-Russia-in Russian,
Finnish, German and Sami with English subtitles)
brings a needed sense of humanity to this
well-realized war film."
by Dennis Schwartz
The injured disgraced and disillusioned idealist middle-aged Russian captain, Ivan (Viktor Bychkov), and the pacifist Finnish army private Veiko (Ville Khaapasalo), meet at the remote reindeer farm of the lonely attractive young Lapp widow Anni (Anni-Kristiina Juuso). Her soldier husband died in the war. The peasant woman treats Ivan's concussion from a bomb and comforts the Finnish private, a college student, who escaped being tied to a boulder for not fighting and was dressed in a German uniform. Because of the uniform, Ivan falsely thinks Veiko is the Cuckoo.
The three, even though not understanding each other, bond in order to get through the dark war days, as the men must alter the negative notions they hold for each other.
When Veiko quotes from one of his literary gods, Dostoyevsky, "I hope people look back in horror at what they did in the war," we realize what the filmmaker is fully saying. Rogozhkin brings a needed sense of humanity to this well-realized war film.
REVIEWED ON 7/4/2016 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ