Saturday, February 14, 2015

Movie Review: August Eighth


August Eighth 2012 Russian action fantasy drama Screenplay by Michael Lerner. Directed by Dzhanik Fayziev. Kseniya (Svetlana Ivanova) ,  Artyom (Artyom Fadeev) 2 hours 12 minutes

Okay, to begin with, this film is pure propaganda. But what wonderful propaganda it is! I debated whether this review should be included because the fantastical part of the film is understood to be fantasy. In that way, this film reminded me of Pan’s Labyrinth because the fantasy is a child’s reaction to the warring world all around. So if Pan’s Labyrinth is fantasy, then this is as well.

The story begins with Artyom in his fantastical alter-ego of Cosmoboy. His noble, self-sacrificing sidekick Kind Robot is helping him battle Robot Darklord. The scene shifts to a theater where Artyom is watching an amateur theatrical production about dragons. After this, Mom and Artyom are on their way home discussing family dynamics. Just at that moment, Darklord pops up in Transformers mode. Artyom warns his mom but gets rebuked with “Why do you always talk about robots when I want to talk about something important?” Not that mom should talk, she also has moments when the fantastical emerges out of the blue.

The something important that Kseniya wanted to talk about is Egor, her new boyfriend. Truth to tell, Egor’s full of himself. But to be fair, he’s got a good job and so he’s a big find for the artistic single mom Kseniya. Besides, she’s only in her early twenties and her son is seven.  She hasn’t had a chance to grow up yet. So I cut her a lot of slack.

When Zaur, Artyom’s dad, an Ossetian “peacekeeper” asks Kseniya to send their son to Zaur’s parents, Kseniya doesn’t want to. There’s a conflict going on in that region. But heck the conflict has been going on for 150 years, says ex-beau. Nothing’s gonna happen. Kseniya’s still not sure but hey, Artyom’s dad misses him, the grandfolks are getting old, AND boyfriend with the good job did after all invite her to go on a vacation with him.  So she sends Artyom off, trusting in Zaur’s promise that he’ll send their son back should trouble arise.  

There’s this wonderful bucolic scene with cows, happy peasants, loving grandfolks, and women in babushkas. And then, wouldn’t you know it? The Five Day War threatens to break out. And annoying Ex refuses to send the child back.  Seriously, the men in this movie are useless. And so Kseniya’s quest to go to war-torn territory to get back her son begins.

Folks, this is one fun movie! Mother's Love and War battles! IF you like war movies, don't miss this one on netflix.
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