East-West

Film

Period and swashbuckler films

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Time Out says

In 1946 Russian emigrants flock back to the USSR, answering Stalin's invitation to help rebuild the ravaged motherland. Docking at Odessa, Dr Alexei (Menchikov) and his French wife Marie (Bonnaire) find, however, that many fellow returnees are sent to labour camps. Alexei's professional status wins the couple and their son a room in a Kiev apartment, but as the grimness of their new lives sinks in, the confiscation of their passports makes return to the West an apparent impossibility. Then a chance encounter with a touring French actress (Deneuve) offers a chink of hope. After the colonial gloss of Indochine and Une Femme Française, it's a surprise to find director Wargnier shivering under the grey skies of the former Soviet Union; but with this tale of love and betrayal offset by a dark political backdrop, accompanied by Patrick Doyle's grandiose score, it's evident he's taking Doctor Zhivago as his new model. If you expect a credible historical drama, this falls short, but as an old-fashioned Hollywood wallow it works rather well.

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