MAILED: Oct. 9, 2000
A beautiful widowed mother and her six-year-old son become bound to a handsome and charismatic stranger in "The Thief," an Oscar-nominated Russian film that will screen Oct. 19-22 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The International Film Society will present the 1998 drama (in Russian, subtitled in English) at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.
Set in 1952, the film stars Ekaterina Rednikova as Katya, a young mother traveling by train with her son, Sanya (Misha Philipchuk). They meet Tolyan (Vladimir Mashkov), a flirtatious army officer, and immediately fall for him.
"Except for the charm, nothing about Tolyan is what it seems," wrote The New York Times. "It takes time for Katya to detect this, time spent settling into a precarious domesticity that is one of this film's best aspects. The director, Pavel Chukhrai, brings a novelistic sense of detail to evoking the dailiness of Soviet life under Stalin's regime. Drawing on his own childhood memories, he presents the bustle of communal apartments, the backdrop of grandiose Stalinist architecture, the disruption of frequent travel on trains, the specter of prison in a distant, snowy place. 'The Thief' summons this backdrop for a three-character family story that is no less redolent of this particular era."
The Los Angeles Times described the film as "at once intimate and epic possessed of lyrical beauty and suffused with a mixture of warmth, suffering and rueful humor. 'The Thief' has emotional richness, breadth of vision and a graceful cascading toward a grand climax. Films like this remind us how rarely we get to have so heartfelt an experience at the movies nowadays."
The 94-minute film is rated R.
Tickets, available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-37270, are $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff or $1 for UW-Eau Claire students.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Oct. 10, 2000