• James Rutherford

'Beanpole': An Extraordinary Russian Drama Set in Post-World War II Leningrad


Beanpole (Dylda) (2019) is a deeply affecting and emotionally pronounced Russian drama starring Viktoria Miroshnichenko as Ilya, a towering nurse nicknamed "Beanpole" by her compatriots. In the aftermath of World War II, Ilya serves in a Leningrad military hospital while tending to young Pashka (Timofey Glazkov), a playful young boy she safeguards while his mother Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina) completes her military service.


Suffering from episodes of catatonia brought on by post traumatic stress disorder, Ilya fails to properly care for Pascha—much to Masha's embitterment upon return. Blithely casting her own emotions aside, Mascha sets off in search of a male lover, compelling Ilya to join her in her pursuit of companionship despite Ilya's steadfast objections. Indeed Ilya harbors intense, unrequited affection for Mascha, the full extent of which is slowly revealed as the storyline progresses.


Co-written and directed by Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov (Tesnota), Beanpole is a stunning display of human fidelity beset by profound adversity and despair. Miroshnichenko and Perelygina deliver monumental performances as young souls ravaged by war, alongside Andrey Bykov as the kindly yet weary medical director who becomes entangled in their affairs. Wrenching and unnerving yet simply extraordinary in full materialization, it's a haunting human drama sure to leave a lasting impression upon your consciousness.

 

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