Beanpole

Beanpole

Reviewed on Cinema Eclectica.

Nothing turns me off faster than contrarianism, so I beseech you to recognise my sincerity when I say this rapturously reviewed Russian festival darling was one of the most odious film experiences I've had, one which reminds me that even the tawdriest grindhouse cheapie is rarely as cynically exploitative as a certain kind of Cannes favourite. Drawing from a typically unflinching book by Svetlana Alexeivitch, Kantemir Balagov's film shows no sympathy for or interest in the inner life of its blank-eyed, endlessly shat-upon heroine. About the only pulse I could find animating its body was Balagov's desire to be canonised as the hot new thing in art-house ordeal cinema, a reward he duly received. But at what cost?

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