A huge hit when it was released, the movie is set in 1953, when after the death of Stalin, Beria pronounced an amnesty which put out of work camps an enormous amount of inmates, causing an increase in criminality.
A...展开t a small village by a lake, live two political exiles spending there few years after camp sentence as "enemy of the people". They don't benefit from the amnesty. The older one works and is integrated in the small community, the younger, a former WWII officer survives doing nothing and is kept on the side. Yet the daughter of a mute woman enjoys to have some talk with him.
The police officer tells the main administrative clerck about the recent removal of Beria, the massive amnesties and a group of six wanted men wandering near the place after a murder.
The bandits are in fact hiding in a barn, and the next day they attack and take control of the villagers. Not presents at the moment, the two political prisoners can choose: leave the place, but they decide instead to take action against the bandits. Paradox: the so-called "enemies of the people" are in fact the ones who rescue the people, from the real criminals.
Historically, the movie is fantastic, because produced in 1987, it was the first mainstream feature dealing directly with a critic of political prisoners and exiles. Khrushchov's destalinization ended the stalinian Terror but didn't allow a level of artistic freedom of expression making possible a movie like this one.
History of politics aside, the action and tension are good. Some have labelled it a "russian western" , as few outsiders fight a bunch of nasty and violent bad guys and save the town's good people.
The filming location is in central Karelia, not far from Petrozavodsk, north-western Russia. A very beautiful nature.
Valeri Priyomykhov received a state prize for his portrayal of the main character.