Director: Gleb Panfilov
Writers: Gleb Panfilov (scenario), Maxim Gorky (novel)
Stars: Inna Churikova, Viktor Rakov, Liubomiras Lauciavicius
1990 Cannes Film Festival (Jury Prize for outstanding creative achievement (Gleb Panfilov)
1990 “Felix” award of European Film Academy (Best supporting male – Dmitry Pevtsov)
1990 “Nika” (Best sound – Roland Kazaryan)
The social ferment in late 19th century Russia which led to the 1917 Russian Revolution is movingly portrayed in this lengthy historical drama, which is very faithful to the 1907 novel The Mother by the celebrated Marxist writer Maxim Gorky (1868-1936). In the story, «the mother» (Inna Tchourikova) has no other recourse than to watch her decent, kindly husband turn into an animalistic, drunken brute as a result of working in the inhuman conditions of a steel mill in the town of Sormovo. When he begins to express his suppressed rage by beating her, she is defended by her teenaged son Pavel (depicted Viktor Rakov as an adult, Sacha Chichonok as a boy). After his father’s death, Pavel is forced to go to work in the same factory. However, Pavel and his friends begin investigating Marxism and socialist thought, and work to organize their fellow workers. One of them becomes a police informer, and when the friends discover this, they force him to commit suicide. Later, when Pavel is captured by the police, he pretends to be willing to inform on his group as well, but this is a ruse, and he leads demonstrations against the ownership of the factory. Meanwhile, Pavel’s mother has gotten involved in the cause in small way. When the socialist cell Pavel belongs to is taken away to trial, they are sentenced to a prison term in Siberia, and he makes a fiery pro-socialist speech from the train platform as he is being shipped away.
— Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide