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Silent Souls

Silent Souls

Released 22 June 2012
Director Aleksei Fedorchenko

Igor Sergeyev, Yuri Tsurilo, Yuliya Aug, Ivan Tushin, Olga Dobrina, Leisan Sitdikova, Viktor Sukhorukov
Writer(s) Denis Osokin
Producer(s) Igor Mishin, Mary Nazari
Origin Russia
Running Time 78 minutes
Genre Drama
Rating TBC

Melancholic and boring.

Powerful, slow-moving movies are difficult to master. It is important to maintain the balance of the scene to scene progression without simultaneously ruining the importance of meaning. Often in these instances, film directors get lured into the temptation of relying on a single shot for seconds, sometimes even minutes, to convey a moment's intensity or emotional magnitude. If it fits, it can be hauntingly brilliant. If it doesn't, the fluidity of the picture becomes lethargic. Infuriatingly, Silent Souls is the latter.

After Miron's wife Tanya dies unexpectedly, he asks his best friend Aist to help him complete the ritual of their ancient Merja culture, now mostly assimilated into the modernity of twenty-first century Russia. Together they embark on a soul-searching and revealing road trip where Miron shares his unwavering love for his bride while Aist battles with his own inner demons of the feelings he also shared for Tanya. With them is a pair of rare small birds that both indirectly and directly affect their lives along their journey.

There is very little to say about this film. Indeed, that is quite apt given the fact there is hardly any speech throughout its entirety. Everything about Miron and Aist's journey, from their beloved home town to their final destination, is dreary, ultimately reflecting their aged customs that are wholesomely dying out. Many scenes last for many seconds too long, far surpassing the necessary point when the significant impact of the moment would have been reached. This becomes increasingly tiresome.

The premise of the story is bleak and its attempt to be beautiful simply materialises in it being boring. The main shining light is that, at only seventy-five minutes long, it isn't too much of a chore sitting through until its conclusion – which, by the way, couldn't be any more obvious. Like the film's portrayal of a lost and forgotten culture, it won't take you long to erase Silent Souls from your memory.

- David Caulfield