War does not merely kill and maim--it can shatter families. Here is a Russian film based on a short story "The Return" that examines with considerable entertainment the chances of good men and women to cheat on their marriage either to survive or even as a result of altruism.
The film also brings to the fore how in the absence of the father, young boys mature into responsible adults.
Director Solovov's cinema is not exceptional but it captures the various tremors a strong family suffers, when one leading member of the family is away for a long while. If we forget the war, the film is of significance as we can reflect on how good men, women and children are affected by a long absence of a pivotal member of the nuclear family. The father is not flawless, he is human, but more importantly the father has to be responsible to lead his family (as a captain would lead his soldiers under his command) All the performances are credible and laudable especially those of the children. Solovov chose an interesting subject to film and he does it with elan. The photography, though not intrusive, is able to capture the cold, bleak post war Russia.
The film was shown at the 12th International Film Festival of Kerala, India. This film underlined the growing use of children by directors to explore complex issues around the world. It also underlined the growing interest of filmmakers in reflecting on the importance of building strong family values.
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