Chuzhaya belaya i ryaboy is the last film of Sergey Solovyov’s soviet period. Its story takes place in the steppes of Kazakhstan soon after the ending of WWII, and tells about people living in a shithole of a town, where there’s nothing to do, so breeding of doves becomes everybody’s hobby and passion, on which ground some real tragedies are bound happen. A teenage boy, whose doves collection leaves much to be desired, once notices a stray white female dove, so slender and elegant, it soon becomes everybody’s business to have her in their possession. He, however, manages to get her first, through luck and great effort, only to be cheated out this great happiness almost immediately. Alongside this storyline, his father, a shell-shocked veteran of war, relives his own tragedy, one closely tied to a woman, an ex-actress, he once had stong feelings for.
Naturally, I watched this movie before, long time ago, that is, and from that time I remembered my impression quite vividly. That impression was highly positive, I considered this film to be my Solovyov’s favourite. Now, that I’ve seen it again, I can reconfirm that status.
It is truly a wonderful work, – strong, dark, and weirdly captivating. I say weirdly, because I don’t really get people’s fascination with doves, – but I can sense the sincerity and honesty in depicting one’s life, and I can appreciate it, too. By the way, the film is an adaptation of Boris Ryakhovskiy’s autobiographical novel, who played a small part here himself (not any of the main characters).
The construction of the story, the dialogs, the scenery, the acting, – every element of this film aids in achieving the great result it gradually becomes. I don’t think there’s anything sour or spoiled here – not that I noticed, anyway. Sure, it’s not an easy entertainment, but good things rarely are. I love it, you might love it too.
Released in: 1986
Directed by: Sergey Solovyev
Written by: Sergey Solovyev
Performed by: Vyacheslav Ilyushchenko, Liubomiras Laucevicius, Sultan Banov, Vladimir Steklov, Lyudmila Savelyeva, Ilya Ivanov, Andrei Bitov, Boris Olekhnovich, Anatoly Slivnikov, Aleksandr Bashirov, Boris Ryakhovsky, Arkady Vysotsky, Andrei Filozov, Sergei Bodrov, Leonid Filatov
Entertaining quality: 5 out of 5
Art quality: 5+ out of 5
IMDB page: link