© Kool Filmdistribution Ludwig Amman & Michael Isele GbR

Kukushka - Der Kuckuck (The Cuckoo, Kukushka)
Russia 2002

Opening 14 Jul 2005

Directed by: Aleksandr Rogozhkin
Writing credits: Aleksandr Rogozhkin
Principal actors: Anni-Kristiina Juuso, Ville Haapasalo, Viktor Bychkov, Aleksei Kashnikov, Aleksei Panzheyev

This film is being billed as the most original love story of the year and that much is probably true. It takes place at the end of the Second World War in Lappland, on a dismal grey moraine of rocks and gravel left by some distant avalanche at the edge of a lake. Three people carry on lengthy conversations in three languages, misunderstanding each other with every sentence. After a while, the humor in the situation begins to pall and you wonder why they don’t start pantomiming, playing charades or just learning one of the three languages.

Anni (Anni-Kristiina Juuso) is a Lapp woman living alone in a yurt-like structure made of poles. Add Ivan (Viktor Bychkov), a Russian soldier whom she has rescued, and Viktor (Ville Haapasalo), a Finnish soldier in a German uniform who has escaped from the Germans and happens upon Anni’s little farm. Anni wants a man (her husband has been gone four years) and settles on Viktor who is the younger, handsomer of the two. Of course Ivan is jealous, and believing that Viktor is a German fascist in any case, tries to kill him. Anni saves Viktor’s life by beating a drum and blowing and howling into his ear to pull his soul back into his body. It takes two tedious hours to tell this “original love story”.

The film, directed by Aleksandr Rogoshkin, won five prizes at the Moscow Film Festival and other prizes at some lesser festivals. (Adele Riepe)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.