East-West (1999)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

Original title:  Est-Ouest

France/Russia/Ukraine/Bulgaria/Spain, 1999.  UGC YM, France 3 Cinéma, NTV-PROFIT, Gala Film, Mate Producciones S.A., Canal+, Sofica Sofinergie 5, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Studio 1+1.  Screenplay by , , , Regis Wargnier.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Depressing but strong drama about an expatriate Russian doctor who accepts Stalin’s invitation to return to 1930’s Russia with his French wife (, fantastic) and son only to see his friends and comrades get butchered and imprisoned by a militant communist regime. Thanks to their medical occupation, Bonnaire and her husband are spared either cruel fate but are forced to live in much harsher conditions than they ever had known before, finding themselves trapped in the country when they try to return to France. Catherine Deneuve is excellent in a supporting role as a famous actress who helps Bonnaire with her plans to escape.  Directed by Regis Wargnier, who won an Academy Award for his exquisite Indochine (also starring Deneuve), this one is of the same epic proportions but without quite the same high-ranking results.

Academy Award NominationBest Foreign Language Film

Golden Globe Award NominationBest Foreign Language Film

Toronto International Film Festival:  1999

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