A Long and Happy Life
EXEC PROD Andrey Murtazaliev
PRODS Roman Borisevich, Alexander Kushaev
SCR Alexander Rodionov, Boris Khlebnikov
CAM Pavel Kostomarov
ED Ivan Lebedev
PROD DES Olga Khlebnikova
PROD CO Koktebel Film Company
Offered a lucrative payoff if he abandons his farmland, Sasha decides to cut his losses. For him, farming has been a soul-crushing failure. However, when his defiant farmhands propose a “mini-revolution,” he’s swept up by their fervour. Backing out of the deal, Sasha invites the wrath of the region’s power players and their legion of cronies. As tensions escalate and a confrontation becomes unavoidable, he finds his compatriots abandoning the cause, leaving him the last man standing on the day of reckoning.
Clearly indebted to High Noon and brandishing a Western’s sense of fatalism, Boris Khlebnikov’s suspenseful standoff drama is exacting in its aims and efficient in its execution. As Sasha, Alexander Yatsenko effectively conveys the exhilaration of a broken man who’s tasted empowerment for the first time. Consequently, we understand his rationale for remaining committed to his hopeless cause: it’s the only one he’s ever had. And, as the river running alongside his land will attest, there are some courses that can’t be changed.
"A realist fable about how tough times have become for the honest man in contemporary Russia. With subject matter and tone suggesting a Russian rural Ken Loach—although without his usual affirmative endings—Boris Khlebnikov’s film gets by on its simple, direct storytelling and a likable doomed hero."—Jonathan Romney, Screen