Andrei Konchalovsky has one of the most varied résumés of any contemporary filmmaker, starting with historical epics like Andrei Rublev and such local classics as Uncle Vanya (With the great Soviet actor-director Sergei Bondarchuk) to a Sylvester Stallone vehicle (Tango & Cash) and Runaway Train, which could best be described as an existential action thread. Dear comrades! is one of his most passionate films and arguably his best.
As a Cold War child, I have vivid memories of the fearsome Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev and the stories I read about life in the USSR where people had to fight the masses to get a loaf of bread. Dear comrades! tells of a notorious real-life incident that took place in 1962 and was so embarrassed and embarrassed that it was covered up for thirty years.
Daily life in the city of Novocherkassk is full of fear. Within two days we are witnessing a total collapse of society in the microcosm as the Communist Party, the Army and the KGB confront and undermine each other while trampling the lower citizens they are supposed to serve. How will a single mother like the teenage daughter played by Yuliya Vysotskaya (Konchalovsky’s wife) raise and still perform her duties as an outspoken party member? She remains blindly loyal despite a series of harrowing experiences.
By presenting his story in black and white with an aspect ratio of 1:33, the director immediately transports us back to the early 1960s. It quickly and efficiently establishes the milieu and the main characters. A sense of urgency pervades every scene as the city falls victim to the warring factions that make up the masterful staging of crowd scenes and chaotic violence in the United States. Every moment counts. His use of sound – and silence – enhance the script he wrote with Elena Kiseleva.
Dear comrades! is a strong and contemporary drama that dares to look the other way … unless you can’t. It is Russia’s official entry to this year’s Academy Awards and is shown in theaters and is available on Amazon Prime, Vudu and Hulu.