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November 5, 2011 | 12:02 p.m. CST
The director wants audiences to know that this is a movie about love. Scenes of death and lonely winter landscapes occupy the screen, but ever present in Alexei Fedorchenko’s third feature film is the aura of love, and how people respond when something loved is taken away.
Silent Souls follows the journey of Miron and Aist as they embark on a road trip to cremate and pay homage to Miron’s recently deceased wife, Tanya. These men are descendants of the Merya tribe of West Central Russia, a people steeped in culture and tradition that is slowly being forgotten in the modern world.Related Movie
As the men drive toward Tanya’s final resting place with her cold body in the back seat, Miron remembers experiences with his wife and mourns the loss of her company, while Aist seems lost in his own world. He recalls past death rituals and attempts to hold on to memories of his dying culture in the same way that Miron grasps for moments of happiness with his wife amidst thoughts of death and dying.
The cinematography is almost dreamlike, oversaturating a bleak landscape with deep browns and blues and coming in and out of focus as if giving the audience the chance to choose which visual layer they wish to inhabit.
There is little dialogue in the film, but the narration by Aist is like poetry. Combined with the imagery, it would not be a stretch to think of this movie as an extended poem illustrated by desolate Russian winters and warm remembrances — even in the midst of tragedy — of profound, inordinate love.