Jul 192008

Three days ago I mentioned the flaws in Ostrov — the parts that didn’t seem put together very well. It’s also possible that they aren’t flaws, that there is a symbolism and profundity that I’m too stupid to notice. Whatever the reason, the Tikhon connection was one that seemed even less well done on the second viewing.

This time I’ll mention a part that was better the second time around. It was the relationship between Father Anatoli and Father Job. Somehow I didn’t catch it all the first time around. Maybe I was looking for the usual movie cliches about stodgy organized religion vs the humble, spiritually-minded maverick, so didn’t expect anything important to come of it. But there is more than that, especially if one follows the references to why Cain killed his brother. The relationship between Father Anatoli and Father Job develops to the end. Neither character quits on the other.

I can’t say that Dmitry Dyuzhev, who plays Father Job, is a good actor. (See 6 second clip above.) Nor can I say that he’s a bad one. The Russian monks with their heavy beards are somewhat limited in what they can do through facial expression, but they can use their eyes. I thought Dyuzhev did well.

It seems that Dyuzhev is no more a long-time actor than Pyotr Mamanov. Instead, he’s a singer. The above clip shows a sample.


  • Julie

    I am looking for Russian movies with elements of the Russian Orthodox church in them. Can you suggest some or how I might find them?

    Thank you!

  • Reticulator

    Julie, That’s a good question. Of the movies I’ve watched, Ostrov is the only one that has much about the Russian Orthodox church. I’ve been surprised by how many films deal with religion, but not many have any portrayal at all of the church.

    I’ve seen some Stalin-era films on RTR Planeta that portray the church, often unfavorably though sometimes neutrally (from WWII times). But I don’t know the names of what I was seeing.

    There are probably others, but I’m a relative newbie at Russian films. I often see Russian Orthodox priests and ceremonies on RTR Planeta (television). The documentary Kalinovski Square from Belarus showed a priest at the protest rally; I’ve wondered if he was a maverick or what.

  • Reticulator

    Well, there is another one I had forgotten about. Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev portrays the Russian Orthodox Church of the 15th century.

  • I can remember only the films where Ortodox church was not a main subject, but played an important part in the plot.

    Firstly, there is the mini-series by film director Ilya Gurin on Peter the Great times – “Rossiya molodaya” (Young Russia), 1981.

    Secondly, there is mini-series by Aleksandr Proshkin
    on 18 century times too – “Mikhailo Lomonosov”, 1984. About Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, he is brillian case of “self-made man” in Russian history. His attraction to knowledges was so powerful, so he be a son of usual fisherman came on foot from very far village to Moscow at winter to learn a science. At first times he was the student of the church college, then he has a serious conflict with the clergymen.
    Yet being at homeland, in his village, young Lomonosov hardly became a follower of the Ortodox sectarians (in 17-18 centures they had a noticeable influence on ordinary people). This movie tells about events too.