A week before December for rent coming out film “Winter Season”. This is the directorial debut of actress Svetlana Ustinova. Why is this an important and extraordinary story for Russian cinema about the relationship between mother and daughter?
The mother, according to the plot, progresses with dementia, which the daughter learns about quite suddenly. “The season is winter” is a very personal statement for Ustinova. Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 56. For the whole family, it was like snow on the head. To process the experience, the actress first began to keep a diary, and then decided to write a script. She invited Yevgenia Dobrovolskaya to play the role of her mother, Yulia Snigir to play the role of her daughter, they all played together at the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater. Ivan Afanasiev, a film reviewer for Forbes, tells about how the picture turned out:
Ivan Afanasiev Forbes film reviewer “I think it’s a rather uneven movie in terms of how it’s done. It’s cold, I think, that’s why Yuliya Snigir was taken for the main role. She even somehow has a surname suitable for such pictures. Cold, not even in terms of embedded feelings, but in general, a little detached. In my opinion, at times it looks a bit drawn out, but I understand that, firstly, this is a very sincere and very personal picture for Svetlana Ustinova, therefore, despite some detachment, which, again, was taken as a stylistic tuning fork for a reason, because the theme of dementia implies that the hero and the movie can be distant from the viewer. At the same time, it is also difficult not to be imbued with them. It is filmed, as they say, to break.
The topic of various mental illnesses in Russian cinema is, frankly, not very common. While in foreign cinema, the same dementia has long been not uncommon. Still Alice with Julianne Moore, who won an Oscar in 2015 for this role. Then “Father” with Anthony Hopkins, also an Oscar winner. In October, the Whirlwind by Gaspar Noe, about an elderly couple who are trying to fight Alzheimer’s disease, reached Russian cinemas. Ustinova’s film “The Season of Winter” in Russia was first shown at the “Window to Europe” festival in Vyborg, and many were moved to tears by this film, says Susanna Alperina, a member of the jury of this festival, a columnist for “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”:
Susanna Alperina columnist for Rossiyskaya Gazeta “It was shown, in my opinion, the next day or the next day with Avdotya Smirnova’s film The Carpenter. For me, these two films are like one continuation of the other, because there was a time when they didn’t shoot at all about people who are sick, who need help. Here is one film “The Carpenter”, how a father behaves in a family where a child is terminally ill, and the film “The Season is Winter”, when the daughter and mother, and the mother has dementia. It seems to me that they played very accurately, and such touching accents are made there. Of course, “The Season of Winter” cannot be compared with the film “Father”, for example, or with the film “Whirlwind”. These are different kinds of creators, but the thought is transferred from one film to another. You compare. It is important to be able to not speculate on this topic. It must be done as sincerely as possible so that those people who do not have this problem in life, but who can sympathize and empathize, are affected. I think Ustinova succeeded.”
The film “The Season of Winter” has eminent producers: Ilya Stewart and Murad Osmann, who previously filmed “Farsi Lessons”, “Execution”, “Petrovs in the Flu”, “Summer”. If these producers take on directorial debuts, they are always films with a claim to success.