BY THE BLUEST OF SEAS (U SAMOGO SINEGO MORYA)
(director/writer: Boris Barnet; screenwriter: K. Mints; cinematographer: M. Kirillov; music: S. Pototski; cast: Elena Kouzmina (Masha), Lev Sverdline (Yussuf), Nikolai Krioutchkov (Alyosha); Runtime: 69; MPAA Rating: NR; Mr. Bongo (PAL); 1936-USSR-in Russian with English subtitles)
“A joyful musical comedy about the machinations of love and friendship.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A joyful musical comedy about the machinations of love and friendship. But there are some darker moments to reflect on. The talented but neglected Russian filmmaker Boris Barnet(“Dark is the Night”/”Poet”/”Okraina“), who committed suicide in 1965, is at the top of his game in this strangely uplifting lyrical story.
Yussuf (Lev Sverdline), a sailor, and his best friend Alyosha (Nikolai Krioutchkov), a mechanic, are city folks, who in a storm get shipwrecked on the Caspian Sea. After two days at sea they are rescued by a fishing boat and taken to their destination, a remote fishing island off the coast of Azerbaijan, where they are to spend the fishing season at the Lights of Communism collective farm. Alyosha will be the needed mechanic at the collective, since many of the men are away fighting in the conflict on the Pacific Ocean. Masha (Elena Kouzmina) is the alluring farm team leader, with the million dollar smile, both men fall in love with, causing a strained relationship between the rivals. In the end, she rejects both because she’s loyal to her fiance who has been away for four years in the Pacific fleet.
Everything seems so natural and spontaneous, even when for no reason the men break into song. It somehow defies credibility, even if it does work, that the men don’t find out about her engagement until they are set to leave the island. But Barnet pulls it off because the naive duo and their love interest are all believably portrayed as pure Soviet bumpkins.
REVIEWED ON 1/21/2015 GRADE: A