The Cuckoo, 2002

The Cuckoo is an understated, yet enchanting comedy of errors on the human capacity for empathy and community amidst the chaos and senselessness of war. Set in September 1944 shortly before Finland’s withdrawal from World War II, the film lyrically recounts a fateful encounter between an injured, disillusioned Russian soldier named Ivan and a talkative, escaped Finnish sniper, Veiko (who was dressed by his unit in a German SS military uniform in order to discourage dereliction of duty), at the remote farm of a lonely and attractive young Lapp widow. Unable to communicate with each other, the three isolated protagonists nevertheless establish a surrogate and affectionate bond as they cooperate to survive in the harsh frontier. Capturing an idiosyncratic, incisive, and often amusing tone, Alexander Rogozhkin creates a whimsical, humorous, and acutely observed portrait of man’s ability to transcend divisive cultural barriers to find commonality of human experience.

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