Russia Cinema The Red Snowball Tree (1973)

The Red Snowball Tree (1973)


Mosfilm, 1973

Director: Vasily Shukshin

Screenplay: Vasily Shukshin

Cinematography: Anatoly Zabolotsky

Composer: Pavel Chekalov

Cast: Vasily Shukshin, Lydia Fedoseyeva-Shukshina, Alexei Vanin, Ivan Ryzhov, Maria Skvortsova, Maria Vinogradova, Zhanna Prokhorenko, Lev Durov, Georgy Burkov, Nikolai Pogodin

Box-office leader (1974, 2nd place): 62.5 million viewers

Best Film 1974, Vasily Shukshin: Best Actor 1974

Awards: All-Union Film Festival 74 (Baku), West Berlin 75, Warsaw Siren 73 (Polish Critics’ Prize), Fest 75 (Yugoslavia)

This is the story of a man with a complex fate. After spending many years in prison, Yegor Prokudin is released. He returns to the countryside in search of Lyuba, a woman with whom he has been corresponding from prison. Initially, he merely wants to grow accustomed to life on the “outside.” The simplicity and age-old wisdom of the countryside alters all of his plans, and he decides to make a clean break with the past. The past, however, does not want to let go of him. His former criminal friends catch up with him and he is stabbed at the end of the film, dying in Lyuba’s arms.

The director and performer of the lead role, Vasily Shukshin, manages to transfer a simple story line into a more complex trajectory. He does not describe the unhappy lot of an old offender; rather, he addresses the soul and “how it does not fit into life, how it languishes, looking for a place.”

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