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The Cuckoo Review

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A triangle forms between a Lapp peasant, a Finnish conscript in the retreating Wehrmacht and a wounded Red Army die-hard - none of whom can speak the others' language - during the 2nd World War.

★★★★★

Russian director Alexander Rogozhkin has been making impressive pictures for over 20 years, yet this beguiling blend of pacifist parable and romantic fantasy is the first to receive a UK release.

Lushly photographed by Andrei Zhegalov and impeccably played, it's a long-overdue corrective to the kind of wildly patriotic war film produced in the Soviet era.

Set in September 1944, it describes the triangle that forms between a Lapp peasant (Jusso), a Finnish conscript in the retreating Wehrmacht (Haapasalo) and a wounded Red Army die-hard (Bychkov) - none of whom can speak the others' language. But while Rogozhkin is prepared to exploit this semi-comic situation, he's equally intrigued by the trio's common determination to survive in the face of abandonment (the soldiers by their units, and Jusso by her presumed-dead husband).

Lushly photographed by Andrei Zhegalov and impeccably played, it's a long-overdue corrective to the kind of wildly patriotic war film produced in the Soviet era.