Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
Original title: Utomlyonnye solntsem
Russia/France, 1994. Studio Trite, Caméra One, Goskino, Russkiy klub, Canal+, Media Factory. Story by Nikita Mikhalkov, Screenplay by Rustam Ibragimbekov, Nikita Mikhalkov, dialogue by Rustam Ibragimbekov. Cinematography by Vilen Kalyuta. Produced by Nikita Mikhalkov, Michel Seydoux. Music by Eduard Artemev. Production Design by Vladimir Aronin, Aleksandr Samulekin. Costume Design by Natalya Ivanovav. Film Editing by Enzo Meniconi.
This Russian import is so fantastic that only within its first ten minutes it is better than all of its fellow nominees for Best Foreign-Language Film of 1994 put together. Taking place in the 1930s, it showcases the experiences of a wealthy family summering at their beautiful country estate. Their idyll is at first interrupted by the mother of the family being visited by her former lover, making one think that this is as bad as it is going to get for these people, until of course Joseph Stalin and his new government enter the picture and really mess things up. The film is beautiful to look at, but also compelling thanks to superb direction by Nikita Mikhalkov.
Academy Award: Best Foreign Language Film
Cannes Film Festival Award: Grand Jury Prize