A Great Woman (2019), by Kantemir Balagov – Review

A Great Woman (2019), by Kantemir Balagov - Review

Account A great woman To what extent can people give our lives to others for a greater cause, either by choice or by responsibility, or by love.

A couple of years ago, in 2017, life gave us a great movie. It was called Tesnota (Too close), from a director named Kantemir Balagov. That film was installed strongly in the memory of the writer. It seemed to me, at that time, that the very young Kantemir Balagov, born in 1991, carried within him great wisdom, both cinematic and existential. To take off your hat, go, and put the film on the altar. Well, the same director brings us A great woman, an even more overwhelming story, explained with as much wisdom and sensitivity as it already did in the aforementioned movie. On the other hand, we see that in the cast some names are repeated, which leads me to think that, in addition to the great inner wisdom, there is in Kantemir a scale of values ​​covered in fidelity. Loyalty to talent, merit and much more. Even the story, although what counts is brutal for its intensity and content, shows that scale of values.

Account A great woman To what extent can people give our lives to others for a greater cause, either by choice or by responsibility, or by love. It takes place in the year after the end of World War II. We are in Leningrad, a city that suffered intensely the disasters of war and its consequences. And in that we are, in the first consequences. It is the story of two women. How to say what would be ridiculous here, for the intensity and content, I will only tell you that each woman ends up embodying two different values: one of them represents hope, a hope that breaks, but that she stubbornly not to lose it, at the cost of betraying the stubbornness with which reality contradicts desires. The other woman represents the sacrifice, a sterile sacrifice, and never better said, because the movie is about it. I will only tell you that in the first section of A great woman, one of them, the one that represents the sacrifice, kills a child who has been born with a deformation. A gesture of transcendent love and extreme compassion only acceptable in such circumstances.

What counts is brutal for its intensity and content.

TO A great woman you could object to the same thing as Paris, Texas, that film by Wim Wenders, in which a Nastassa Kinsky personified a woman punished and destroyed inside. The objection is: how is it possible that a woman so dusty is embodied by an actress who looks so beautiful and splendid? It takes away truth, don't you think? Well, in my opinion, in A great woman The same thing happens again. Great actresses, splendid and beautiful, in an environment of extreme misery and suffering, and in which food and health do not abound. This objection does not take away excellence to both films, everything is said.

It is more, in A great womanCould the beauty of these women be part of a premeditated strategy by the director, perhaps to catch the viewer? I wonder what would have happened if the appearance of these women had reflected, outside and inside, the suffering to which they are exposed.


Synopsis Leningrad, 1945. World War II has devastated the city and demolished its buildings, leaving its citizens in misery both physically and psychically. The siege (one of the worst in history) is over, life and death continue to fight in the disaster that war leaves behind. Two young women, Iya and Masha, try to find meaning in their lives to gather forces in order to rebuild the city.
country Russia
Direction Kantemir Balagov
Script Kantemir Balagov, Aleksandr Terekhov
Music Evgueni Galperine
Photography Kseniya Sereda
Distribution Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Vasilisa Perelygina, Konstantin Balakirev, Andrey Bykov, Olga Dragunova, Timofey Glazkov
Gender Drama
Duration 130 min
Original title Dylda
Premiere 12/20/2019

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