Left in the dense thicket of Brezhnev's sanctioned invasion of Afghanistan, the term "cargo 200" was given to soldiers who found their way back to the motherland in zinc-lined coffins. Fitting, then, is the opening scene which sees a discussion of the cultural climate between two phantoms of a de-Stalinized USSR: two brothers, one a high-ranking member of the Party (Yuri Stepanov) and the other a professor of scientific atheism at a local university (Leonid Gromov). It's the latter's trip to Leninsk that finds him on the side of the road, garnering help from God-lovin' distillers (Aleksei Serebryakov and Natalya Akimova) and their Vietnamese servant (Mikhail Skryabin).
Continue reading: Cargo 200 Review
Once his ex-comrades are gone, he tries the obvious: shooting the chain. But the metal is too hefty for his bullets, so a quick escape is out of the question. MacGyver-like, he sets about to employ material within reach, which turns out to be a blast of gunpowder collected from his bullets, and the burning of lichens to gradually wear down the rock with expansion and contraction. It's a credit to the filmmaker's sense of reality that the job is not made to look trivial. In fact, it goes on long enough to exhaust Veiko's food, his strength, and a bit of our patience, though Veiko doesn't lose his confidence for a moment and we get a sense of the man's perseverance.
Continue reading: The Cuckoo Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.