Irish Film Institute -BEANPOLE


Director: Kantemir Balagov

137 mins, Russia, 2019, Digital, Subtitled

This film was released on 20th December 2019 and is no longer screening.

1945, in the immediate aftermath of the siege of Leningrad. Two women form a mutually destructive bond in an attempt to create a future life from the ruins of war. Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko), whose imposing height has led to her titular nickname, is a nurse in an overcrowded veterans’ hospital. Suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, she experiences occasional bouts of full-body paralysis that render her catatonic. Iya has acted as a caregiver to Pashka, the infant son of her friend Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina), a soldier who returns from the frontline to discover further tragedy awaits her at home. Kantemir Balagov has, with his second feature at the age of just 28, delivered a near masterpiece.

Uncompromisingly bleak, yet poised, elegant, and, at times, strikingly beautiful, Beanpole is a work of impeccable cinematic craft, with vivid central performances.

(Notes by David O’Mahony.)

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