I don’t know another movie which does what Siberiade does so well, but then again, I don’t know another movie that even tries to portray the relationship between two families over a span of eighty years.
What did the rise of Soviet Russia mean to Russians? A big enough question, one that doesn’t have a tidy answer—is an answer even attempted? The little village of Elan which the story revolves around is full of Dostoievskian characters who must face folks straight from ancient fables: a man endlessly cutting a straight road through the forest to reach a star births a man who becomes a war hero and a vicious soviet puppet; the character billed as ‘the eternal old man’ hovers around a young dandy with a fixation on discovering oil and giving earthy reason to the cutting of the forest road by his lunatic grandfather; an axe murderer and a chorus of old-believers lend context and surreal aspect to the final dramatic scenes.
Interest in the characters was furthered by having known their ancestors, and was not dissipated by the somewhat brief encounters with them that such a movie demanded.
Although this movie is over 4 hours long, I’ll give it another viewing.