PIONEER HEROES (2015) [Feature]

Russia (MIFF 2015 , International Panorama)

"Poignant and funny ... a quirky, nostalgic reminder of the pure-hearted desires of childhood and the broken promise of adulthood, Natalya Kudryashova's Pioneer Heroes is a tender rumination on an uncertain present unable to capitalise on its past." – Dog and Wolf

In the summer of 1987 three members of the Vladimir Lenin Young Pioneers – Olga, Sergey and Katya – enjoy the innocence and endless possibility of childhood as they prepare to sing at a concert commemorating the war heroes of the Soviet empire. Twenty-five years later, the same three struggle to make sense of life in the corrupt morass of contemporary Moscow, a gilded, grimy place where money can buy you anything. Except, that is, for happiness.

Playing out as a tartly satirical conversation between a gold-tinged past and a greyed-out present, Pioneer Heroes is the acid-tongued feature film debut from writer/director/actress Natalya Kudryashova. Backed by consummate cinematography and a piercing eye for historic detail, it offers a vision of post-Soviet Russia that is oppressively Kafkaesque yet still filled with the eternal hope of escape.

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