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February 18, 2024

Moderator: Toni Perrine

Panelists: Anal Shah (Film) and Heather Tafel (Culture)


Director: Kantemir Balagov

Year: 2019

Country: Russia

1945, Leningrad. World War II has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Two young women, Iya and Masha, search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins. Inspired by Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich's book "War Does Not Have a Woman's Face."

Cannes Film Festival -- Un Certain Regard

European Film Award

Austin Film Critics Association Awards

Asian Pacific Film Awards

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"Beanpole is a take on postwar trauma, post-ceasefire collateral damage, and the process of healing that uniquely prioritizes the female perspective. Balagov and his co-writer, Aleksandr Terekhov, have mentioned the influence of Svetlana Alexievich’s WWII oral history, “The Unwomanly Face of War,” on their screenplay, and the choice to focus on a gender-specific experience (of war) is key."

-- David Fear, Rolling Stone

"More minute actions, like Iya’s hands on a dying soldier’s neck or Masha’s elusive smiles, often framed in visceral close-up, draw one into the intimacies of their being; that both women are played by first-time actresses is extraordinary."

-- Kat Sachs, Chicago Reader

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