Synopsis by Gönül Dönmez-Colin
Barak is a simple portrait of the inhabitants of an old barracks converted to a communal residential neighborhood in a provincial town in the Urals in 1953, during the postwar rebuilding following the death of Stalin. The community is almost self-contained, which sets an example for the lives and loves of ordinary people in the rest of the Soviet Union during a period of upheaval. Twenty-three year old Olga, the sole survivor of a family wiped out in the siege of Leningrad, is the latest arrival to the barracks, where she does not know anyone. Alexei, a militia man, lives with his son Burka and his girlfriend Claudia. Jewish Jora, an eccentric photographer-cum-clown, is a former victim of Stalin's purges. Friedrich is an ex-Nazi soldier married to a Russian. Guerka is an alcoholic dove breeder and a former Nazi collaborator. Polina is a pretentious Ukrainian and Karim the Tatar is her companion. Olga gradually adjusts herself to the circumstances, living each day with moments of joy, sorrow, and unexpected incidents. Director Valeri Ogorodnikov pays attention to the minutest details when drawing a colorful gallery of characters. Dream sequences are interspersed for dramatic highlights. Barak received the Silver Leopard at the 1999 Locarno International Film Festival, and Ogorodnikov received the Young Jury award.