East/west

"Essential"

East/west Review


Academy Award-winning director Régis Wargnier (Indochine, A French Woman, Lumiere and Company) returns to the Oscar-caliber arena with this multilingual period drama about a family lured back to Stalinist Russia under a false promise of amnesty. Wargnier's nomination for East-West is certainly deserved.

Russian emigrants Alexei (Oleg Menchikov--Barber of Siberia, The Kiss) and Marie Golovine (Sandrine Bonnaire--Circle of Passion, Les Innocents) receive a disappointing welcome when they step off the boat in Odessa with their young son, Serioja (played by Ruben Tapiero and Erwan Baynaud). But, because of Alexei's medical skills, the family is spared execution and shipped off to Kiev to share meager quarters with a household of alcoholic miscreants--including a strapping young swimmer named Sacha (Serguei Bodrov Jr.) Wracked with guilt over the miscalculation that has landed his family in captivity, Alexei struggles to protect his foreign-born wife while avoiding the scrutiny of a fear-ridden polity. Hope stirs when French actress Gabrielle Develay (Catherine Deneuve--Indochine, The Hunger, The Last Metro, Belle De Jour) comes to perform in the local theater.

Tensions plague the Golovine family, from within as well as without. Alexei, estranged from his wife, begins an affair with their building superintendent, Olga (Tatiana Doguileva) and Marie turns to the young Sacha for solace. There's nothing sexy here, however. Just lonely, desperate people clinging to each other in the dark.

This film is beautifully constructed, with enough emotionally potent material to keep you in your seat, even if you've had to pee since curtain. Bonnaire is devastating in her desperation and Oleg Menchikov's stony-faced coldness is wonderfully unnerving. Catherine Deneuve's performance as Gabrielle is a smoldering delight, though she only appears on screen a few times during the film. Despite some appallingly flat portrayals of Soviet officials that harken back to bad Cold War stereotypes, the movement of this film is upsetting and delivering; worthy of the Oscar nomination, if not the Oscar itself.

Aka East-West, Est/Ouest, Est-ouest.

Bed of roses.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 27th November 2008

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Gabrielle Develay, as Marie, as Aleksei Golovin, as Sasha Vasilyev, Ruben Tapiero as Seryozha, à 7 ans, as Seryozha, à 14 ans, Grigori Manoukov as Pirogov, Tatyana Dogileva as Olga, Bogdan Stupka as Colonel Boyko, Meglena Karalambova as Nina Fyodorovna, Atanass Atanassov as Viktor, Tania Massalitinova as Anastasia Aleksandrovna, Valentin Ganev as Volodya Petrov, Nikolai Binev as Sergei Kozlov, René Féret as Ambassadeur de France, as Le capitaine turc, Hubert Saint-Macary as Le conseiller de l'ambassadeur, Jauris Casanova as Fabiani, Joël Chapron as L'acteur de théatre, François Caron as Policier surveillance, Paris, Marie Verdi as Habilleuse, Ivan Savov as Moyta Petrov, Aleksandr Stolyarchuk as Cadet Petrov

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.