Cannes Film Fest 2019: Beanpole–Grim Tale from Russian Kantemir Balagov

Premiering in the Un Certain Regard of the 2019 Cannes Film Fest, Beanpole, Russian director Kantemir Balagov’s downbeat tale centers on two women ravaged by World War II.

Balagov’s devastating first feature, Closeness, premiered in Cannes two years ago, was equally grim and demanding.

Set in a ravaged Leningrad after the end of WWII, this grim drama centers on the complicity between two women.  The fact that their side won does not alleviate the emotional and physical damage.

The Russians held off the Nazis, but the costs to the survivors remain evidentThe women are lucky to be alive but their precarious equilibrium, and chances  for regaining stability or normalcy are minimal.

Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko looks after a little boy, whose mother is her close friend, Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina). It is therefore shocking when Iya extinguishes the youngster’s life.

The characters will likely never recover from their wartime ordeals, but Masha still dreams of a better future, while Iya also has delusions.