Melancholian 3 huonetta (The 3 Rooms of Melancholia) (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Melancholian 3 huonetta (The 3 Rooms of Melancholia) (2004)

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Movie Info

The grim toll the war in Chechnya has taken on that nation's children is the focus of this harrowing and powerful documentary. The film's first chapter was filmed at the Kronstadt Cadet Academy, where children between the ages of 9 and 14 (many orphans or from poor families) are taught the skills of soldiers, foreshadowing the lives they will probably lead in the Army. In the second segment, cameras capture the sad realities of life in the bombed-out Chechen capitol of Grozny as orphanages struggle to care for youngsters whose parents are either dead or no longer capable of raising them. The film concludes with profiles of a handful of children who have been traumatized by the war, ranging from a boy gang raped by Russian troops to another whose own mother was driven mad and tried to kill him.

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Critic Reviews for Melancholian 3 huonetta (The 3 Rooms of Melancholia)

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (6)

Superbly conveys its themes of despair and lost opportunities.

August 10, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Consistently moving but never quite coalesces into a strongly coherent whole.

Full Review… | July 29, 2005
New York Daily News
Top Critic

An achingly beautiful look at the most tragic victims of the longtime war in Chechnya: children.

July 28, 2005
New York Post
Top Critic

The acrid fog of war is palpable in Pirjo Honkasalo's magnificent documentary, The 3 Rooms of Melancholia, one of the saddest films ever made.

Full Review… | July 27, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Honkasalo's self-consciously high-art approach seems likely, at least for American audiences, to render an already remote conflict even stranger and more exotic.

Full Review… | July 26, 2005
Village Voice
Top Critic

A harrowing docu look at war and militarism's wounds, as seen through the eyes of Russian and Chechen children.

Full Review… | June 4, 2005
Variety
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Melancholian 3 huonetta (The 3 Rooms of Melancholia)

½

"The Three Rooms of Melancholia" is a trio of short documentaries from Finland: 1) A military academy of boys who are around 10-12 years old in Kronstadt which is near St. Petersburg. 2) Black and white footage of the devastation of the Chechen capital, Grozny. We are introduced to a woman who rescues orphans. 3) In a nearby republic, these orphans are sheltered on a farm. In the distance, we can hear warlike sounds that are reminiscient of thunderstorms on a summer day. This film starts off subtly while we are being introduced to boys at the Russian military academy. In fact, I'm not really sure why we're there until we are introduced to two boys whose lives have been affected by the war in Chechnya - one of Russian parentage who was found there and another whose mother is serving in the armed forces there. News footage is also shown of a terrorist attack(the footage is repeated in the third segment). It is only till later in the film, that the military academy seems very troubling indeed. The documentary draws a direct line from scenes shown in the first segment with boys being shown how to kill at the military academy to the devastataion of Grozny to the refugees who are struggling to find a new life. "The Three Rooms of Melancholia" is a cinematic essay on the effects of war but it concerns itself mostly with those who may one day be fighting it themselves. I saw little difference in the boys in Russia and Chechnya but a great deal of difference in how they were raised.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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