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Montreal World Film Festival












The 2011 edition of the Montreal World Film Festival, one of the largest film events in North America, is set for August 18 28, 2011. With close to 300 films from all over the world, including premieres of films from the province of Quebec, the Festival is a major cultural event.


A Russian Tale of Return and Redemption

OTETS (Father)OTETS (Father) 

Friday, August 31---------One of the most powerfully acted and beautifully shot films of the Festival has its International Premiere this evening at the Montreal World Film Festival. OTETS (Father) is a Russian film by director Ivan Solovov that is set in the weeks after the end of World War II, when a Russian soldier returns to his life and family, after the glories and comaraderie of war.

Although the deprivation and death of World War II is over, the terrible ordeal of adjusting to normal life is still waiting for Alexi Ivanov, a decorated soldier. Instead of feeling relief and happiness, he is filled with apprehension. What will he come home to? The children, will they remember him? And his wife Lyuba, has she been faithful? After a brief episode when he accompanies a female soldier back to her home town to hide the disgrace of her illegitimate pregnancy by pretending to be the father of the child, Alexei finally makes his way home. At first relieved to see that his wife and children are alive and healthy, Alexei soon suspects that Lyuba was unfaithful and he is shocked by the starkly premature adulthood of his young son who curtly orders the rattled father to get beyond his petty concerns and understand that the family suffered as much as he did on the battlefield.

Yearningly acted by Alexei Yousskov, the father soldier is like so many men who experienced the War.....who lost their innocence in the conflict but also came away damaged and, in a strange way, nostalgic for the comaraderie of his soldiers and the immediacy of life and death. As he returns to a drab existence in a brick factory, Alexei is tempted to join the young female soldier whose husband he has pretended to be. However, in a somewhat abrupt yet satisfying ending, he and his family become reconciled, and he moves beyond childish fantasy (something his prematurely mature young son has already done) and accepts his responsibilities.

Born in 1952, Ivan Solovov graduated in direction from VGIK, the renowned Moscow film school, and in 1988 he founded Mentor Cinema, an independent film production company based in Moscow. He has scripted or directed over thirty documentaries and ten features, including: CARAVAN OF DEATH (1991), GLUKHOMAN (1991), IS IT OK TO SLEEP WITH ANOTHER MAN'S WIFE? (1992), CHYORNYY OKEAN (1997), AVALANCHE (2001), RAILWAY ROMANCE (2003), and LYRICS AND MUSIC (2004). OTETS is an adaptation of a long-suppressed short story THE RETURN, which bravely put a pessimistic spin on the image of the glories of the returning soldier.

The film is stunningly shot, giving an atmospheric (if dreary) feeling of post-apocalypytic Russia, where snow is still on the ground by May and a cold wind continues to roar. All seems quite bleak, and the deprivations of war will continue for years to come. However, the cold clear light also demonstrates the strong spirit and endurance of not only this family, but symbolically, all of Russia, which would rebound after tens of millions of deaths to become a world power in the post-war Cold War period. The film, with its vivid atmosphere and deep-felt yearning, is a tale of return and redemption, and is a strong contender for major awards as the Montreal World Film Festival enters its final weekend.

Sandy Mandelberger, Montreal World FF Dailies Editor

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About Montreal World Film Festival

Sandy Mandelberger
( International Media Resources)








Online Dailies Coverage of the 35th annual Montreal World Film Festival to be held from August 18 to September 28, 2011. 

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