Beanpole ★★★★½

Beanpole is the first film I watched from the virtual Cleveland International Film Festival which was originally cancelled because of the current lockdown. The movie was directed by Kantemir Balagov, a very talented young filmmaker. It tells the story of two female soldiers who fought together during World War II. Iya (aka Beanpole because of her height) and Masha reunite in Leningrad to start their lives anew, but that proves to be very difficult since they both suffer from PTSD. Their friendship becomes very toxic when Sasha frames Iya into having a baby for her. The story evolves very slowly and things become very disturbing. The movie is gorgeously shot and masterfully directed, with almost every frame basked in greens and reds. Overall, this is a difficult movie to watch but ultimately it has a very moving ending. It's great to see a movie that depicts the lives of women who fought in the front lines of WWII since their stories are so underrepresented in movies. This is just a hunch, but I have a feeling we are going to hear more from Kantemir Balagov in the future.

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