The Seventh Companion

84 minutes 2012

For a Soviet production, this 1967 debut feature by Aleksei Guerman is surprisingly bleak in its depiction of the civil war that followed the Russian Revolution, presenting both red and white soldiers as brutal and unscrupulous. The central character is a former general in the czar's army who begins to sympathize with the Bolsheviks after the revolution but has trouble convincing them of his commitment. His dilemma--how to remain loyal to Russia as the political winds keep shifting--anticipates the fate of many citizens under Stalin, and it demonstrates a sense of moral ambiguity that would be central to Guerman's later films. The deep-focus photography (another staple of the director's work) is often stunning. Grigory Aronov codirected. In Russian with subtitles.

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