Muzhiki! (Peasants) (1982)

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Imbued with a state-promoted "social realism," the intent of this film - showing how a father accepts responsibility for raising a few children that are not his own - is noble, but the nobility of the action loses its some of its sheen when the full pathos of human emotion is not sufficiently explored. The story concerns a man who returns home after a 15-year absence, delayed because he was certain his bride-to-be had been unfaithful and he was unable to face her and the situation. He was right, as it turns out. His father informs him he is actually the father of a 14-year-old girl, plus, if he wants them, two additional children his wife had with the man she married - the couple has died and the children are orphaned. After fighting opposing battles with his feelings and his conscience, the father cannot find sufficient reason to refuse, and indirectly, forgives his former fiancee for her actions as he takes on the children. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

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