Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Popular Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov was riding the crest of several well-received films (such as Slave of Love, 1976, or Five Evenings, 1978) when he opened this movie in the non-competing section at Cannes in 1983 -- so expectations were high. Unfortunately, this may have been one of his weakest career efforts. Intended as a satire on the urban/rural dichotomies in Russia, the film features Nonna Mordyukova as Maria Konovalova, a grandmother who is left to continue living on her own in the countryside when her daughter and family move to the big city of Moscow. Unnerved at being left alone and curious about what the urban attraction is anyway, Maria travels to her daughter's place and stays on for awhile. She sticks her unwanted nose into everyone's business -- daughter's, granddaughter's, ex-husband's, son-in-law's, and neighbors' too. By the time the meddlesome woman has alienated everyone around her (no wonder her family left), she realizes what she has done and bids a sniffling farewell as she heads to the train station and home -- but her family cannot leave it at that and decides to at least say good-bye on a better note.
alienation, city-life, elderly, grandmother, loneliness