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Dear Comrades! Image

Dear Comrades!


Lyuda (Julia Vysotskaya) is a mid-level Communist Party official in the industrial town of Novocherkassk, western Russia. The year is 1962, and food shortages, price hikes and wage cuts are fuelling unrest, but Lyuda remains a staunch believer - even if she’s not above accepting the under the counter benefits that come with her position. But when the local factory goes out on strike, the authorities send in the Red Army and the KGB. In the ensuing chaos dozens of citizens are shot - and Lyuda’s teenage daughter goes missing. Distraught, she searches the hospital and the morgue, putting everything on the line as the cover-up goes into effect…

Based on a real historical atrocity (though the cover up did its job), this is an impressive and searing piece of work from veteran filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky (Sin; Paradise; Siberiade). Evoking the post-Stalinist era through steely black and white, the film takes place over the course of just a couple of days, but serves to delineate multiple flaws in the Soviet system, rather like the hit TV series Chernobyl. The tensions between Communist ideals and the corruption and universal suspicion engendered by the single party State are embodied in the sympathetic figure of Lyuda, who is forced to reconsider beliefs that are not only deeply instilled, but which helped her survive the horrors of WWII… It’s a stunning performance from Julia Vysotskaya (who also happens to be Konchalovsky’s wife).

"Anger burns a hole through the screeen…. a passionate drama of fear and rage." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"A work of astonishing power and one you should make certain not to miss." Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

"Konchalovsky’s masterpiece… Beautiful and damning." Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

Silver Lion (Special Jury Prize), Venice 20

Director Icon Director
Andrei Konchalovsky

Julia Vysotskaya, Vladislav Komarov, Andrei Gusev, Yulia Burova, Sergei Erlish
Executive Producer Olesya Gidrat
Producer Alisher Usmanov, Andrei Konchalovsky
Screenwriter Andrei Konchalovsky, Elena Kiseleva
Cinematographer Andrey Naidenov
Editor Sergei Taraskin, Karolina Maciejewska
Russia 2020 120 min. Russian with English subtitles 19+ Website & Trailer | Trailer | New Yorker review | Guardian review


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In response to the new provincial health orders, The VIFF Centre has closed the theatre and cancelled screenings until further notice.

We look forward to seeing you all back in the theatre soon, but for now stay healthy and enjoy our virtual screening options on VIFF Connect from the comfort of home.