Scriptwriters Dmitrii Sobolev
Director of Photography Oleg Lukichev
Production Design Dmitrii Onishchenko
Costume Design Regina Khomskaia
Composer Sergei Shnurov
Sound Vladimir Persov
Editing Sergei Ivanov
Cast: Ivan Dobronravov, Iurii Itskov, Sergei Shnurov, Aleksei Vertkov, Nadezhda Tolubeeva, Andrei Feskov
Producer Sabina Eremeeva
Production Slon, Mosfilm, with support from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
Truce is Svetlana Proskurina’s latest film, almost universally acclaimed. It received not only the main award at the largest festival of Russian cinema, Kinotavr, in June 2010, but also the prize for the Best Actor, which went to Ivan Dobronravov, nowadays a student at theatre school, who was noticed when still a child by Andrei Zviagintsev in his well-known film The Return (Vozvrashchenie, 2003).
Proskurina’s film begins with the sound of several people’s heavy breathing, a sound that emerges first from a black frame, which gradually fills with the image of a picturesque forest, from which a steadily growing group of young lads emerges, attacking us face-to-face before steadying their aggressive pace in a medium, lateral shot. With their hard-breathing mass, they immediately remind us of their presence, or existence, in our generally perturbed living space.
The general and medium shots are edited along with an extreme close-up of a section of the huge tire of a gigantic lorry; at its wheel, the trucker has fallen asleep. He is one of the possible characters from the crowd we have just seen. For the film’s further aesthetic development we should take into account that Proskurina’s films contain no accidental or superfluous frames; every detail—even of the material world—caught by the camera sends a specific semantic signal, depending on its design. Even with a cursory glance at the wheel, the carefully prepared imagery forces us to notice here the traces of tear-and-wear from the long journeys and protracted use.
The fabula, the external chain of events, seems plain. The protagonist, Egor Matveev (played by Dobronravov), one of the “simple” guys that appeared in the first frames, is the young trucker. He lives in a hostel at the regional center, lost in Russia’s wide space. He receives an assignment to go to a tiny geographical point, which is not even marked on the map. This is another important detail for the understanding of the original plot, which is situated at the intersection of the interdependence of man and space....
Reviewed by Olga Surkova © 2010 in KinoKultura