Бer (The Flight, Beg)   (1971)

 

 

 

 

Directors:     Aleksandr Alov, Vladimir Naumov.

Starring:     Lyudmila Savelyeva (Serafima Vladimirovna Korzukhina),  Aleksey Batalov (Sergei Pavlovich Golubkov),  Mikhail Ulyanov (General Charnota),  Tatyana Tkach (Lyuska),  Vladislav Dvorzhetsky (General Khludov),  Evgeni Evstigneev (Korzukhin),  Vladimir Zamansky (Baev),  Nikolay Olyalin (Krapilin),  Bruno Frejndlikh (General Vrangel),  Vladimir Basov (Artur Arturovich, the Cockroach Tsar),  Tamara Loginova (Lichiko),  Oleg Efremov (Colonel),  Vladimir Osenev (Tikhiy),  Gotlib Roninson (Voluptuous Greek),  Roman Khomyatov (Frunze).

Russian film about the defeat of the "White Army" in the Russian Civil War

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

 

Part I.

Two men with torches are up on the monastery roof signaling to the Whites.  Refugees are running away from the battle taking place.  A woman looks totally out of it.  She stops, grabs a chair that has fallen off a wagon and sits down on the battlefield.  A man comes back for her.  He stands there in front of her just staring at her.  She looks at him and asks who are you?  The man replies:  "I'd just like to help you."  She grabs a handful of snow, eats some, holds it out to the man and says:  "Snow."  She gets up out of the chair and then starts to faint.  The man notices that she is burning up with fever.  He takes her toward the monastery. 

A man bursts into a room where four men are playing cards shouting:  "The Reds are in the city."  General Krapchikov starts to get up from the table, but the man on his right, Gen. Charnota, says the cards have already been dealt.  So General Krapchikov decides to stay and play out the round.  Machine gun fire is heard and one of the men at the table throws some money into the pot and runs out.  General Krapchikov wins, grabs the money and starts getting his coat on.  It looks and sounds like the General gets hit by a bullet.  General Charnota now jumps out a window into a bank of snow.  He pulls out his pistol and starts firing.  A bunch of Reds on horseback come blazing along the side of the huge building firing some shots at him. 

Inside the building someone asks Prince Vladimir to pray for them.  There are a lot of clergymen in the basement praying. 

The Reds arrive at the monastery.  An officer gives an order to search the place.  One of the men is named Paissiy and the Reds ask him if he was up in the steeple signaling someone?  No. 

From on top of the monastery can be seen a line of horsemen riding in the direction of the building.  The officer asks to see the papers of the woman named Serafima with a temperature and the man named Golubkov who is helping her.  Golubkov says the lady is about to have a baby.  He shows the officer her passport.  The officer looks on her false passport (she has a real one too) and reads out Barabanchikova, married.  He asks where is her husband?  A soldier warns the officer that the Whites are coming.  The commander and his men get back on their horses and ride out. 

Now the Whites ride into the monastery.  They rush up the steps.  An officer rushes in the entranceway shouting for Gen. Charnota, who comes out of hiding under a tarp.  He was right next to the woman ready to have a baby.  Charnota asks Golubkov to see his papers.  The man explains that he is a privat-docent fleeing to Petersburg.  And the woman?  She says she is the wife of Undersecretary of Trade, Korzukhina. Realizing who she is, Gen. Charnota no longer wants to see her papers. 

A woman named Lyuska rides up to the soldiers and jumps off her horse onto her husband.  They both fall to the ground.  Lyuska is amazed that he is still alive.  She kisses him repeatedly.  Gen. Charnota says that he was very close to death.  When he came to headquarters, Gen. Krapchikov made him play cards with him.  Budyonny came in out of the blue and he (Charnota) had to flee by backyards until he reached citizen Golubkov.  He examined the papers of his wife, Mrs. Golubkov.  She was about to give birth, so he got down there to help her.  Then he hears the Red Comissar coming who looked at his passport.  He now kisses Lyuska. 

A map is laid over the back of a horse.  Charnota says that have to move over to the Crimea so they can be under the protection of Gen. Roman Khludov.  Golubkov comes over to the General telling him he simply must take the woman with him.  She is ill and Charnota can taken her to an infirmary.  The General says the woman could get a bullet in the head, but Lyuska tells him that that they have to take a woman that pretty with them.  So now the General gives his permission.

Golubkov tells the pregnant woman she is going with General Charnota.  Serafima tells Sergey Pavlovich Golubkov to go on because she needs to lie down.  Lyuska says the lady has typhus.  She now tells orderly Krapilin to take the lady.  He picks her up and takes her over to the wagon.  Now the Whites leave the monastery. 

Charnota and Lyuska let the rest of the group go straight while they go off to a corner.  The General fires his pistol and Lyuska laughs.  He then grabs Lyuska and kisses her.  Then they continue their journey. 

Golubkov walks along side the pregnant holding an umbrella over her to keep the snow off her.  A traveling circus wagon accompanies the caravan. 

The Red officers at a meeting learn that the Fleet Commander has reported that the Azov Fleet cannot leave Taganrog (on the Sea of Azov) because the sea is covered with solid ice.  The General says that this means that they will not be able to attack the enemy's left flank.  Their only option is to attack the Turkish Wall head on.  The 15th and the 52nd division will go through the Sivash Marsh and attack the Perekop group from the rear.  One of the officers, Bayev, says he's worried about the infantry for they will freeze going through half-frozen mud covering seven miles. Instead, he wants to use his cavalry regiment to help spearhead the attack.  Another officer says that Bayev is just out after glory. 

A call goes out for the Commandant and the Station Master to report to the Front Commander.  General Khludov sends a message to the Commander-in-Chief.  He complains to himself that no one loves them and that's how tragedies start.  He has waited a whole hour for the train to Taganash.  The Station Master tells him that the way out is blocked.  The General now accuses the Station Master of favoring the Reds.  The Station Master replies that he hasn't slept for 30 hours and he has two children at home.  Khludov gives the order to send for the sappers.  He says that within 15 minutes the Station Master better have the train past the semaphore.  If this is not accomplished, both the Commandant and the Station Master will be hanged. 

Charnota and his men finally reach the train station.  He reports to Khludov that the cavalry division from Chongar is here.   Charnota now asks Roman what is he doing?  He tells Roman to stop all this.  Khludov tells him to shut up and take up his position at Karpov Gully.  Charnota goes outside and tells his unit that the civilians will stay at the train station and the cavalry will head to take up their position. 

Hoses and wagons head out over the marsh.  A messenger tells the Red General that the unit will be coming out on Litovsky Peninsula.  The unit starts getting bogged down in the mud and the water.  The Reds come under fire and they return fire.  The whites are up on hills overlooking the marsh.  The Reds climb up the hills and push the Whites back. Then they come down the hill still chasing the fleeing Whites. 

The Undersecretary of Trade, Korzukhin, arrives at the train station.  He has three questions for Khludov.  What happed to the five men arrested in Simferopol (northeast of Sevastopol)?  Khludov answers that question by telling Lt. Golonov to take the minister to see the prisoners.  The prisoners have been hanged.  The second question:  Does Khludov have bottled-up here essential supplies (the furs for foreign exchange) that should be immediately shipped to Sevastopol  (on the south western part of the Crimean Peninsula on the coast of the Black Sea)?  The General tells his aide Golovan to soak the goods with gasoline and burn them.  The third question is how is it going at the front?  The General says it's a mess.  He tells the Minister:  "Go to Sevastopol and tell that fat bunch of cowards that they'd better pack.  The Reds will be here by dawn."  The Minister is very offended by all this and tells the General that he will be sure and tell the Commander-in-Chief about this.  The General says please do so.

Outside a woman runs up to Roman to talk to him.  He tells his aide to feed the woman and keeps on walking.  Now Serafima tries to speak with Roman.  She tells him she has come all the way from Petersburg to the protection of the great Gen. Roman Khludov.  Now she starts calling the General names such as bloodsucker and a jackal.  Golubkov tells the General that the woman doesn't know what she's saying.  She is pregnant and has a high fever.  Roman stops himself and makes the connection with the woman named Korzukhin and the Undersecretary of Trade, Korzukhin.  He sends an aide to bring the Minister to him.  The husband and wife are reunited, but the husband says he's never seen this woman before  -- she's an imposter!  Roman tells the trade undersecretary to get out of here and for the woman to be taken away and questioned. 

A young man now comes up out from the background to tell Roman that he is a jackal.  "You can't win a war by hanging men.  Why have you massacred men at Perekop, you beast?"  He says his name is Krapilin, an orderly.  " . . . you, monster, will end up in a ditch."  Khludov tells his men to hang the soldier. 

The Red cavalry under Beyev charges toward the Whites.  In the charge, Beyev has blood coming from his forehead and he is throw over the head of his horse.  He tries to get back up, but keeps falling down.  He finally just collapses.  A funeral is held for him with all the surviving cavalry in attendance sitting on their horses.  

Artillery starts landing near them and the cavalry takes off.  The White and the Red cavalries meet face to face.  A woman watches as the two cavalries smash into each other.  She puts her hands over her goat's eyes so the goat won't be frightened. 

At the train station Roman greets the Commander-in-Chief.  Roman asks for his report to be given privately, so everyone else except the two officers stand 20 or more paces back from them.  He says:  "Three hours ago the Bolsheviks took Yushun  -- they've entered Crimea."   The superior officer says:  "That's the End!"  The officer now calls the priest over to say a prayer with the men.  He starts his prayer.  Roman walks over to him and basically tells him to stop for God has long ago abandoned the Whites.  The priest is shocked at this and so is Roman's superior officer.  He says to Roman that he is very ill to be saying such a thing.  Roman says his superior has to go back to Sevastopol at once.  He tells the music leader to strike up the band.  The Commander-in-Chief, with a disgusted look on his face, gets back on the train. 

Roman goes into the train station and tells everyone there:  "Dismantle the headquarters at once.  Crimea has been surrendered."  He goes to another room and tells his commanders to go back to their units, but the station must be defended.  Then he says that he does not want a single soldier to remain alive.  The officers do an about face and leave.

A Colonel greets the artillery cadets.  He tells them due to the worsening military situation, the cadet's artillery regiment will be dismantled.  He advises them to rip off all their insignia and each go his own way.  This makes the other officers think that the Colonel is betraying the cause.  They run up to him and say he is under arrest.  The Colonel calls for silence!  Now he will explain in brief detail what has happened.  The Commander-in-Chief has fled abandoning the soldiers to their fate.  And so has Khludov.  So, he's sending all the young cadets home.  He will take full responsibility for this act. 

The Reds are on the move.  Commander Mikhail Frunze sends a message to General Wrangel, Commander of the Southern Forces of the Whites, asking him to stop all the useless bloodletting and cease all resistance.

Roman awakens on the moving train.  He starts having delusions.  He thinks the hanged Krapilin is standing at one end of the railway car.  He asks Golonov to have a look, but the aide tells Roman that he sees no one there.  Roman asks if maybe was asleep?  Golonov grabs at that as the explanation in order not to make the General more upset.  Golonov gets the phonograph and plays it loud for the General, who now falls asleep.  Now Roman dreams that there are thousands of men walking aimlessly around.  They are all blind and it is now a situation of the blind leading the blind.  He senses Krapilin is near and he asks him to speak up.  Golubkov awakens and tells Lt. Golonov to get out!  Golonov leaves quickly. 

The Whites are all trying to get onto a ship out of the area.  The docks are a hectic mess.  

Golubkov is brought in for counter-espionage questioning.  The officer wants to know why Golubkov and Mrs. Korzukhina came to the headquarters area of the Whites?  And he wants to know why Mr. Korzukhina denied that the woman was his wife?  Golubkov says the man was afraid.  The officer has Golubkov write down on paper that Mrs. Korzukhina come to White headquarters "to engage in Communist propaganda and join underground groups."  They have Golubkov sign the paper and then they throw him out. 

Now the interrogator asks a man burning White documents how much would Mr. Korzukhina pay not to have this signed confession appear in public?  The fellow says the equivalent of 10 thousand dollars.  So the interrogator tells the man to delay the boarding of Korzukhin for at least an hour. 

The interrogator goes to show Mrs. Korzukhina the letter signed by Golubkov.  The woman breaks open a window and yells to the arriving General Charnota and his soldiers to save her because she is being held against her will.  The General rushes in with some of his officers.  Serafima shows him the letter that Golubkov signed against her.  The Generals crumbles the paper up and throws it in the interrogator's face. 

At a restaurant a singer sings while two women dance around him.  Some man runs across the restaurant floor and fires a shot from a pistol.  Someone else tries to wrestle the gun from his hand.  Mr. Korzukhina is in the restaurant waiting with the interrogator's aide and another man.  He says he is going to the men's room, goes and sneaks out a window. 

Golubkov is on the street waiting for all the soldiers and civilians to clear out. 

Roman comes to see the Commander-in-Chief, who asks if everyone got away okay?  Roman says the cavalry ran into some difficulties but most have gotten away.  The Commander says they are very grateful for all that Roman did for the action in Crimea.  Roman says that the Commander-in-Chief is the one who caused his illness.  He asks how could he start a fight when the White side was so powerless?  The Commander is tired of being criticized and he leaves. 

Someone shouts that court's in session!  The audience, thousands of them, are sitting on long benches by the railroad tracks.  The judge is Krapilin.  The accused is Roman.  He tells Karpilin to say something, but Karpilin stays dead silent. Such is another of Roman's nightmares.

Golubkov comes in thinking that Roman is the Commander-in-Chief.  He wants to report the terrible crimes committed in the counter-espionage services caused by Gen. Khludov.  When the General turns to look at Golubkov, the civilian realizes the embarrassing situation is in now.  Roman says there is nobody to make a complaint to anymore.  They are all gone.  What did he want to complain about?  Mrs. Korzukhina.  So Roman tells Lt. Golonov to go to counter-espionage and bring back Mrs. Korzukhina.  Roman sits down and tells Golubkov that they will wait now.  They both sit down to wait.  The civilian says if Mrs. Korzukhin has been hanged, he will kill the General. 

Roman becomes delusional again and asks somebody imaginary to sit down.  He later says he was just talking to himself.  And even later, he says that Mrs. Korzukhin has been shot.  He pulls a pistol out of his coat, cocks it and gives it to Golubkov.  Roman says:  "Do me a favor, shoot."  The civilian says that he fell in love with the woman.  Roman turns his back to the civilian so he can be shot in the head.  Lt. Golonov comes in and informs the two men that Mrs. Korzukhin is still alive.  He couldn't bring her to the two men, because Gen. Charnota came and took her away.  She was taken to the steamship Vityaz that left at 5 p.m.  Golubkov leaves.  Now Roman tells Golonov to get their flag and embark on the Prelate.  Golonov leaves. 

It's still a mad house at the docks.  Roman comes out of the building and Golubkov asks him if he could take him with him to Constantinople?

The Colonel and two of his comrades have ordered three caskets.  The undertaker arrives and asks where are the bodies?  The Colonel explains that the three men standing before him, including the Colonel, are the bodies.  The undertaker doesn't want to be involved, but they say they will give him a lot of money for this.  The Colonel now asks the undertaker to wait outside the room.  The three men draw lots.  The Colonel is first.  He is shot dead by the Captain who will be second to die.  The Captain, however, decides not to die and walks away.  The third man chases after him saying this is not honorable.  The Captain continues to walk and the third man shoots him dead.  He then goes back into the room, closes the door and shoots himself. 

The Reds march into Sevastopol and don't seem at all concerned about the whites who are still left on the docks.  But a White opens up on them with a machine gun.  Now the Reds go after the machine gunner. 

 

 

Part II. 

 

Constantinople.  The White General Charnota is a vendor selling toys on the street.  A woman stops to look, but decides not to buy.  Charnota chases her halfway down the street while he continues to drop the price of the toys.  When she just keeps walking he insults her.  He then says:  "What a rotten city!" 

Charnota spots a fellow Russian, Maria Konstantinovna.  He asks her if he can bet on Janissary on credit?  She says that he will have to get permission from Artur.  Artur says his policy is that no one gets credit from him.  A little later he calls Artur the "Tsar of the cockroaches".  He ends up selling what he has to sell and the suitcase for 2.50 liras to Artur.  He then puts all the money on a bet on cockroach Janissary. 

Artur shoots a pistol into the air to tell people it's time for the cockroach race.  He gets a large crowd inside, including the General.  And the winner is Janissary.  In the second race, Janissary turns back after a good start.  Some of the people think that Artur is trying to cheat them.  Someone says Artur got Janissary drunk.  The sailors come after Artur and he has go sliding down the race track used by the cockroaches to get away.  But the sailors meet him outside.  Artur has to run from them shouting:  "Where did you ever see a drunken cockroach?" 

Now it seems that everybody is fighting in the street, including Maria Konstantinova.  The police arrive, but they start to arrest Artur.  The crowd suddenly disappears.  Artur goes up to the poster of him hanging off a long pole to show the police that he is the proprietor and the victim of those vandals.  Now the police go after the others.  General Charnota was in the fray.  He still sits on the cockroach race track recovering his composure.  He sits there talking to Janissary who now lays on his back with his feet up in the air going back and forth.  He even refers to the insect as brother Janissary. 

A man named Tikhiy stops Mr. Korzukhin who is about to get on a boat for Paris.  Tikhiy tells the well-dressed man with a cigar that maybe the man remembes that he was almost hanged by Tikhiy in Crimea?  He just wants ten minutes of the man's time.  So the fellow lets him come aboard with him.  Inside the man's room, Tikhiy says that the man will need him because he has just finished his research into the political attitudes of the Russian émigrés.  He says he has a lot of information on different people.  He shows him some information on Gen. Charnota.  The wealthy man says he's not interested.  So the man says he also has information on Paramon Ilyich Korzukhin.  This man has connections with groups whose aim is to restore the overthrown regime in Russia. 

Korzukhin goes into the room next door and asks if his assistant heard everything?  He did.  Korzukhin tells him to give him Tikhiy's folder. 

Tikhiy now goes to talk with Serafima.  He offers her a deal.  He will give her the money to have the necessaries of a good life.  In return she must do him some small favors in the future of a strictly business character.  This would save her from wrinkles and a life of prostitution.  Maria slaps his face hard.  Gen. Charnota has been listening to all this.  He dunks Tikhiy's head in the wash basin filled with soapy water. 

The General goes inside the house and says hello to his wife Lyusenka.  She is not too pleased with him because they have no money to do anything and there's not much money for food either.  She says she sells her body for money.  She has some other nasty things to say to her husband. who tells her to stop provoking him. Serafima Vladimirovna decides to go out for awhile.  She asks that there be no fight while she is gone.  Lyusenka gets very upset when Serafima leaves.  She goes on a rant on how she hates the Bosphorus, the émigrés and her husband.  She now tells the General that their marriage has come to an end.  Lyusenka tells him she is going to Paris.  The General goes out on the balcony and starts shooting at the city of Constantinople. 

Serafima Vladimirovna goes over where the prostitutes stand.  The General walks around and cries a bit.  He gets so exasperated with his situation that he attacks a musician playing an organ grinder.  The the General realizes that it's actually Golubkov that he is attacking.  He hugs Golubkov, who tells him that he was in prison camps for half a year, but now he's in Constantinople.   He asks about Serafima Vladimirovna and the General tells him she's man-hunting.  Golubkov looks shocked, but the General tells him not to give him that look because they are all starving. 

Golubkov goes to find Serafima.  The General sees her riding in a buggy with a man and he and Golubkov go chasing after her.  The man takes her to a sleazy hotel.  The General and Golubkov bust into the room.  Golubkov starts hitting the john, so the john goes to the General for help.  He says take his purse and his change.  He has a wife and a shop.   He doesn't want a scandal. The man runs out of the room.  Golubkov goes over and sits near Serafima.  She puts his glasses back on and holds his head.  He wants to know what she is doing here?  She says he has no right to reproach her.  He tells her he loves her.  She asks him to forgive her and walks out of the room.  The two men now leave the room. 

The two men go over to look at the sea and they run into General Khludov.  Golubkov asks Khludov to stay here and take care of Serafima while he goes to Paris to find Korzukhin and make him help her.  General Charnota now says instead of Madrid maybe he will go to Paris too. 

The General and Golubkov are in Paris.  Serafima tries to sneak out of the apartment of Gen. Khludov with her two suitcases, but she runs right into the General.  She asks him to let her go, she can't stand it here anymore.  Then she adds that she's afraid of him and she hates him.  He tells her that he has sold his ring and now they have some money.  He asks her to please be his guest.  The two of them go to a circus show where Lt. Golovan is one of the Cossack trick horseback riders. When the General recognizes Golovan he calls out for him and asks him to bring him the hanged man Krapilin. Golovan acknowledges the General, but asks him if he has gone completely insane?  Serafima begs the General to be quiet.  He agrees, but then starts talking to himself and to Krapilin asking him how did he survive all this?  He finally says to himself to let the man rest in peace. 

The General now dreams of walking in a shallow lake at the bottom of a huge open pit mine.  He sees Krapilin and tells him to say something.  He dreamS a sack is placed over his upper body.  He steps up on a chair and the hangman starts to put a noose around his neck.  Serafima complains that he is talking to himself again.  Who is he talking to?  The General says no one.  Again the General calls out for Golovan.  He rides over to the now standing General and tells him:  "You've ruined my life, now you're ruining my show."   The General walks toward Golovan, who tells him if he comes any closer he is going to kill him.  The ring master asks that the General be taken outside. 

Golubkov and the General in Paris find the home of Korzukhina.  Golubkov goes to talk to the man.  He tells the fellow that his wife is in Constantinople and she is perishing.  Korzukhina says: "I have no wife."  He says he doesn't remember the Crimea or this woman who is supposed to be his wife.  He says he has no connections with Russia anymore.  Furthermore, he has meet a pretty Russian émigré who is his personal secretary and he is planning to marry her.  Golubkov tells him that's okay, in fact, that's even better.  But he must help get Serafima out of poverty.   He asks Korzukhina to lend him one thousand dollars.  Korzukhina says he won't lend him the money.  Golubkov takes it like it means nothing to him.  The only thing he says is that he has never before met a person who is as inhumane as Korzukhina is. 

Golubkov is about to leave when the General marches in.  He grabs Korzukhina really hard and gives him a huge kiss on the lips.  He also lifts him up and puts him down a couple of times.  Korzukhina asks the General if they have ever met?  The General asks him, doesn't he remember Sevastopol?  They both sit down.  The General asks what's wrong with him that he won't even help a fellow countryman?  He said if he knew this, he would have joined the Bolsheviks just long enough to hang Korzukhina, and then he would have gone back to the Whites.

The General wants to play cards with Korzukhina.  The General keeps winning.  Golubkov wants to go home, but the General is on a winning streak and he won't leave.  When the two men quit, the General has a big pile of money.  He has won the equivalent of 20,000 dollars. He awakens the sleeping Golubkov and starts giving him the money.  Golubkov tells the General to buy back the medallion.  So the General does as he says and gets the medallion.  Both the General and Korzukhina are stinking drunk.  Korzukhina wants his money back. They start fighting and the General pulls out his pistol.  The pretty secretary comes down and the two men immediately stop fighting.  The pretty secretary turns out to be none other than the General's ex-wife.  She acts likes she doesn't know the General.  Korzukhina introduces her to the General.  She tells Korzukhina that the men can keep the money since they won it.  She tells Korzukhina to go to sleep now.  The General says goodbye to his ex-wife. 

The General is drunk again.  He and Golubkov wear nice clothes now.  Charnota goes down to speak to the beggars that he knew when he had virtually no money at all. 

Constantinople.  Gen. Khludov and Serafima are down by the docks. She tells the General that they should stop coming to the docks because Charnota and Golubkov are not coming back.  Serafima says they have let the Cossacks go back home to Russia.  Serafima sees Charnota and Golubkov and she shouts out to them.  Charnota hugs her.  Khludov says he is going to get on that boat that is taking the Cossacks back to Russia.  And he wants Serafima to come with him.  Charnota tells him that they will surely execute him back home.  Nevertheless, Khludov is determined to go and says goodbye.  The three climb into a carriage and leave the docks. 

When they reach the home of the cockroach races, the General gets out.  He says:  "Our paths take different directions here."  He says he is nothing now and leaves.  The General puts a lot of money on cockroach Janissary to win.  Artur explains that the old Janissary is dead, but his grandson has replaced him and is known as Janissary the Third. 

Golubkov goes with Serafima to Khludov's old place.  She tells Golubkov he will sleep where Khludov slept and she will sleep where she always sleeps now.  She tells him:  "You will never leave again.  I won't let you."  He tells her that he has come to say goodbye.  He's going back to Russia.  He goes on to say that he thinks his truth lies in Russia.  He adds:  "I'm not alive here.  I never have been.  I stayed back there.  So I'm just going home, to myself.  He asks her to forgive him and leaves. 

The next morning Serafima comes down to the dock with her suit cases.  She puts them down and runs up the gang plank to get to Golubkov.  They hug each other.

General Khludov is still in Constantinople.  He watches the ships that leave for Russia.  Serafima asks Golubkov what were they doing in these past 18 months?  Were they dreaming?  She wants to be back home in Petersburg.  She wants to see snow again.  She wants to forget what happened to them.  Golubkov says:  "None of it happened.  We dreamed it all."   He says the snow will fall again on them and they won't even remember their flight. 

Khludov is still in Constantinople.  He watches from the shore as the ship headed for Paris steams away. 

In Russia the couple sees a boy on horseback with two other horses waiting for them.  Serafima runs to the little boy, takes the snow from his hand and eats it.  She then puts some of the snow on Golubkov's face.  They laugh.  They are happy.  They race their horses along the snow covered trail.  

 

Good film with a good story set in the Russian Civil War and its aftermath.  The story covers the ever worsening fate of the White forces and the émigrés with them.  The Reds keep pushing the Whites farther and farther south into a little corner of the Crimea Peninsula.  We watch the reactions of the different officers and citizen travelers as the situation for the White worsens.  The story centers around a love story between civilians Serafima and Golubkov who travel with the whites.  Add to this mix two Generals who have a big impact on the couple, namely General Khludov and General Charnota.  Khludov is quite the character.  He looks depressed in the entire film, but he has good reasons for being depressed.  He is being chased into a corner by the Reds and he has flashbacks to certain atrocities for which he gave the orders.  The émigrés have a tough time in Constantinople.  They don't speak the language and are Christians in a Muslim city even if the city is a bit cosmopolitan.   As in most Russian films, the long and difficult names are hard to keep track of, but in the end it's all worth it. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

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