Beanpole

Beanpole ★★★★

First act’s emotional distress leaves a haunting feeling lingering above the rest of the narrative which settles down for a more grounded but equally dreadful depiction of post-war Russia. Two women, Iya/“Beanpole” (Viktoria Miroshnichenko) and Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina) are back from the battlefront trying to get by and forget their experiences but the whole society is still in a problematic state and them working in a hospital where the wounded soldiers (alongside Iya’s condition) remind us that the war has left an indelible mark on everyone. Balagov tells a loaded story and is able to combine incredible amounts of different elements through the main characters and the environment which becomes an important factor despite the film not featuring outside wideshots.

Iya and Masha’s contrasting personalities deal with grief and anger in different ways but both are forced to hide it away in search of everything from simple needs like food to dreams of rebuilding a family. Their suffering only comes up directly once or twice like when contrasted with a high class family but everything they try to achieve and what can be read between the lines is related to their experiences during wartime. Beanpole is a minimally executed film working in that twilight zone which utilizes history we all know from a not-so-known perspective. On top of that it ends on a note where if you hadn’t already fell in love with Perelygina or Miroshnichenko you will now.

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