MOTHERLAND is troubling film. The film is a look at the systematic bullying that came out of the Russian/Soviet Military decades ago and which has filtered into many Eastern European societies. In the case of this film Belarus. We watch as we see the effects of the bullying on the recruits going into the army, the men who flee from it and the survivors of those that were bullied to death.
A deliberately paced film MOTHERLAND is a trip into Belarus. Its a film where things happen at their own pace and where moments that seem to be extraneous at the start end up having a kick later on. This is a finely tuned film that is very much intent in making us feel what is happening to the people and the country thanks to the vicious traditions of the military.
There is a sadness here. We watch as a mother tries to get justice for her dead son and finds that the system is stack against her. We hear the words of a soldier writing home to his mother and witness the change from a good boy into an abuser happens. We also watch as some young men turn their backs on the torment and end up fleeing their country. Things are not for the better anywhere along the line.
Beautifully shot and possessing an amazing sense of place MOTHERLAND truly changes our world view by changing where we are in the world. So many sequences lift us out of the theater and put us in a place where we have to confront life in a country on the other side of the world. It is an amazing achievement and if there is any justice this film should get many technical awards in addition to ones for the film as a whole.
And it should get awards for the entire film because ultimately MOTHERLAND is disturbing film. It's a film that requires us to more fully engage with the world and understand the darkness that is driving the world.
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