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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Cuckoo (review)

A Finnish sniper branded a coward and abandoned by his fellow soldiers. A Russian captain, the only survivor of a road accident en route to his own court-martial. A Lapp war widow trying to keep her farm afloat. In 1944, in rural Lapland, these three, political enemies and cultural strangers, come together just as World War II is winding down in this gentle, often funny, always very human film about loneliness and unexpected companionship. With no common language between them, their odd three-way relationship develops with no communication but the nonverbal: the tenderness in caring for a wound, the hard labor of running a farm, the no-words-needed language of sex and sexual rejection. “Four years without a man and then two at once,” Anni wonders with a laugh — ah, the strange little mysteries of life. Lyrically visual and stingingly ironic, this is a wonderful film about finding a kind of peace far from the battlefield but not far from the war. Included on the disc is a making-of featurette.

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MPAA: rated PG-13

viewed at home on a small screen

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