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YURIEV DEN

  • Le jour de Yuri
  • Yuri's Day
  • by Kirill Serebrennikov
  • Russia
  • 135.0 mins
  • Festival: 2008
  • Section: Concorso internazionale

Awards: FICC/IFFS Prize

Awards: Special Mention, Oecumenical Jury

Awards: First Prize, Youth Jury

The film
Lyuba, a beautiful, sophisticated opera singer, takes a few days off to visit her home town Yuriev, with her son. She left Russia several years before to pursue her international career. Her son, who follows her around the world, reproaches her for not showing enough interest in him and devoting her life only to her art. When they arrive in Yuriev, it proves to be a quite inhospitable place, where time seems to have stopped several decades ago. The locals view these strangers with distrust, fail to answer their questions, making it clear they are not welcome. Before leaving again, mother and son decide to visit a church bell-tower, deeming it the only monument worthy of interest. As they rest on a bench, Lyuba dozes off for a moment, and when she wakes, Andrei has disappeared. She shouts out his name, looks everywhere for him, returns to the church, seeking help from local people who don’t respond. As she cannot find him she decides to move in with a local woman to continue her search. Over the days, Luyba changes: her personality toughens, she no longer wears make-up, and dresses more simply. She even decides to work as a hospital cleaner and takes food to prisoners, taking care of those who are forgotten by her country. Through numerous literary references— characters cite famous Russian authors in their everyday conversations, drawing on the history and culture of their homeland— Yuriev den features a woman who, after losing her child, becomes a mother to all the orphans, a mother to a country long abandoned.

Director’s statement
On the one hand, it’s the story of a woman of extraordinary talent, beauty and destiny. She is an opera diva. This is not an easy profession, and in terms especially of having a private life, it is a selfish one. She is divorced, as she had no time for her husband. She also has a son whom she rarely sees. This trip to Yuriev completely changes her personality. When Lyuba loses her son, her priorities and values change. […] First of all, we see a desperate mother, with a broken heart. Before our eyes Lyuba unveils a personality that was well hidden inside her before, a personality she wouldn’t reveal to anyone under normal circumstances. It’s a Bergmanesque transformation of a character on screen. A static camera observes the characters. On the one hand, Yuriev den is a story about a relationship between a mother and a son. A story about a strong woman who, placed in an unexpected situation, tries to break through the thick wall of her own egotism. A story of a woman who is being re-born as a mother. […] It’s also the story of Russia losing its identity, then finding it again.


Production Year: 2008

Production country: Russia

Paese/i co-produzione: GERMANY

Runtime: 135.0 mins

Subtitles:

Director: Kirill Serebrennikov

Screenplay: Yuri Arabov

Cinematography: Oleg Lukichev

Music: Sergey Nevski

Sound: Tilo Feinermann

Editing: Olga Grinshpun

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