Roads to Koktebel (2003)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
|Genre:||Drama, Romance, Art House & International|
|Directed By:||Boris Khlebnikov, Aleksei Popogrebsky, Alexei Popogrebsky|
|Written By:||Boris Khlebnikov, Aleksei Popogrebsky, Alexei Popogrebsky|
|In Theaters:||Jan 1, 2003 Wide|
|On DVD:||Aug 8, 2006|
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as The Son
as The Father
as The Father
as Railway Inspector
as Truck Driver
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Critic Reviews for Roads to Koktebel
here the father and son are not so much returning home as trying to build a new one on the foundations of Russia's history, in a terra incognita where values, and even names, have changed.
Audience Reviews for Roads to Koktebel
I liked it up until the end (I do NOT like cruelty to animals).
Shot in the lingering, moody style of Terence Mallick, this a "road" movie of a father and son (age 10) in contemporary Russia. Dad's jobless and flat broke. So now they're traveling any way they can to get to Koktebel a thousand miles away on the Crimean coast, where there's a relative and possible work. They have some episodes en route (including one love affair for Dad--PG rated). Then they get separated...but find each other again. The film ends. Like a Chekhov short story this plot doesn't have the standard Beginning, Middle, End. Just the Middle. Hence I wouldn't recommend it to most Americans but I kinda liked it. Certainly gets an A grade for authenticity.
Even if the characters were separated and distant from the viewer, we still felt compelled to help them and to know them. Khlebnikov and Popogrebsky used long, wide shots to show this growing distance, even between the characters. Little to no background music was used, giving the film a feeling of reality--cold, harsh reality.
The boy looks out of the attic window in one scene, the light and framing working in harmony to produce an utterly beautiful shot. The contrast between the warm golden candle-lit attic and the dreary nighttime scenery outside mirrors the contrast between the boy's desire to go to Koktebel and the responsibility he feels towards staying with his alcoholic father. The boy's maturity is strange, but reasonable as we find out what his childhood was like.
In the attic scene, we view the boy from behind. Then, the camera angle switches to below, looking up into the attic. The silhouette of the son is once again symmetrically framed. We cut back to the behind-shot of the boy, and once again the warm glow surrounds us. Then the camera switches again, back to the below-looking-up shot, and the coldness of the night replaces the glow. The back-and-forth switches signifies the inner turmoil felt by the boy.
Finally, the boy leaves. He runs off, leaving his father with the final words "All you do here is fuck each other." In response, the father calls his son an idiot, showing the man's immaturity and ignorance.
Getting a ride from a friendly truck-driver [about whom I had my doubts], the boy reaches Koktebel, which is now called a different name. He stands at the top of a hill, at the glider monument. His father had earlier told him that at this spot, a piece of paper would fly far away if you let it go. The boy tries this, and fails. Fail a second time, then a third. His continual failure, and the accompanying apathy, causes the viewer to cringe in sympathy and worry. The paper won't fly. Then, the fourth time: it flies. It glides out of the frame, and the boy runs after it. The camera lingers, then blacks out into the next shot.
Superb camerawork and timing by the directors, plus the very believable humanity of the actors, make this film a sad but glorious work.
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