Beanpole, dir. Kantemir Balagov, Russia 2019, 137 min., Russian with English subtitles
1945, Leningrad. World War II has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Although the siege – one of the worst in history – is finally over, life and death continue their battle in the wreckage that remains. Two young women, Iya and Masha, search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.
Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov’s hypnotic and rigorous third feature confirms his impressive capacity to deliver strong, accurate and delicate portraits of individuals in past and contemporary Russia.