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Sunday, June 1, 2008

SIBERIADE (1979)

Watching Andrei Konchalovsky ’s 4-part epic about the Siberian marshlands over the course of the 20th century & the Communist Revolution, you’d never guess he’d soon head West. It’s a large, and largely indigestible, multi-generational narrative loaded with enough political freight to please any commissar. It’s the tale of two (and a half) families who are always on opposite sides of every issue that affects their little town. If there’s a pretty girl to marry, a boy from each family will fight over her. If vast oil fields are part of their town’s legacy, later generations will split over prospecting or damming the whole territory for a mighty turbo-eclectic plant. And so on. There’s a certain indomitable force to the storytelling, and many bewitching moments along the way, but the violent eruptions in action & acting (broad hardly does it justice) become wearying.

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