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HEAT

USSR, 1963 (MIFF 1966, Programme G)

Director: Larissa Shepitko

Anarhai, in Kirghizia, the burning hot steppeland covered with prickly scrub, is silent and unpeopIed except for a single yurta rising in the even desert, and black dots of tractors, moving back and forth, turning up soil that has lain unfilled for centuries. This is the setting for Heat, a story concerned with a young specialist, whose own idealistic attitude is contrasted with that of an aged, experienced foreman who has become increasingly cynical and bitter.

The film is partly about the difference between the two generations; more specifically about different attitudes towards developments in Russian society. The film holds its sympathy in balance between the two principal characters. When the old man finally leaves, unable to stomach the younger man's cheerful optimism any longer, his action is not condemned. The film abounds in many truly lyrical passages: nothing from Russia has had quite this warmth and understanding since the Gorki Trilogy. The production and performances are impeccable.

First Prize, Frankfurt Festival of Asian Films.

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