Beanpole ★★★★½

Set in 1945 Leningrad, Beanpole is a touching historical drama which is concerned about the postwar repercussions and heartlessness of a brutal period of war and the strength of character required in negotiating and managing its consequences. It's a quietly involving film, albeit one which is often very unpleasant, and is beautifully designed with vibrant colours that unfold a particular style and an unusual sense of warmth, even in its darkly disturbing moments.

Its director Kantemir Balagov imbues the traumatic moments of the movie with tangible raw compassion and kindness, and the performances throughout are deeply and vigorously heartfelt which help to communicate that cruelties do not only distort existence for the duration of a conflict, it transforms subjective reality permanently. Balagov shows excellent skill in articulating a nation expecting to go on with a generation of people that feel powerless in producing its inception.

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