CFS goes cuckoo for “Kukushka”

Danielle LaMonaca

Aleksandr Rogozhkin’s 2002 film, “Kukushka” (The Cuckoo), is an artistically photographed, heartwarming and amusing period piece. It’s about three people from different European countries and cultures who are brought together during World War II. The film takes place in 1944 when the war was nearing its end. As the Nazis withdraw from the Finnish front they capture a “cuckoo,” which means “sniper” in Russian vernacular, and chain him to a rock. In the interim, a Soviet veteran has been accused of writing poetry that criticizes Communism. The Soviet army, threatened by the literature, imprisons him.

Both the cuckoo, a native Finn, and the Russian writer escape from their unfortunate situations and are taken in by a young, beautiful Lapp woman. The woman, Anni, keeps the men hidden from authorities at her home in an isolated region of Lapland.

Since the three characters all speak different languages they find it extremely difficult to interact with one another. This complication results in many comical and confusing scenes. While at first the characters were wary of one another they soon become close and intimate friends.

Although the only true cuckoo in the film is the Finnish soldier, all three characters can also be considered cuckoos. Anni is a unique character because although she is a realist who exemplifies a civilization that has fallen apart because of prejudices, she also is a witch doctor of sorts. Her family members have given her the nickname “Cuckoo” because she concocts herbal remedies and recites magical spells and mantras.

The film’s major theme is how people can learn to overcome hatred and work together to end the evil and cruelty inherent in war. These three characters exemplify how people from different backgrounds and different cultures can survive by helping one another in a time of need. Thus, while Rogozhkin’s film is set in wartime, it is heart warming and uplifting. If you are interested in viewing a culturally stimulating film then you must see “Kukushka”.

“Kukushka” is the next film in the current Cultural Film and Lecture Studies, “Isn’t It Romantic?” It will be shown in its original languages – Finnish, Russian and a Lapp dialog – with English subtitles, four times in the Connelly Center Cinema: Oct. 22 at 7 p.m., Oct. 23 at 3:30 and 7 p.m., and Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for students who bring their I.D. and $5 for all others.

If you would like to take part in a discussion of the film, guest speaker Boris Brilker will be leading a discourse, “Comedy and Love Amidst War,” as well as providing an intro to the film, on Monday night only. He will give viewers a chance to ask questions and also give us a better deeper understanding of the film.

For more information on “Kukushka” or any of the other films playing this semester call X9-4750 on weekdays between 9 p.m. and 5 p.m., or refer to the CFS website.