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Russian Film ‘Beanpole’ Awarded Top Prize by U.S. Film Critics

The film won first place for best foreign language film.


The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) has named the Russian movie “Beanpole” as the best foreign language film. “Beanpole,” which was directed by Kantemir Balagov, also won second place for best production design. 

The film is set in the Soviet city of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) right after WWII. The narration focuses on the tragic relationship between two young women veterans, Iya and Masha, who are trying to start their peacetime life in the ruined city after the long and devastating Nazi blockade. Iya, a tall blonde woman nicknamed “Beanpole,” is trying to adapt to a difficult new life with challenges she must overcome in order to survive in the complex post-war reality.  

She works as a nurse in a hospital overflowing with wounded veterans. From time to time, she experiences post traumatic stress disorder: her body freezes up and she can’t control it. Masha, her longtime friend, wants to have a child but can’t due to a war injury. She wants “Beanpole” to help her. 

The main roles in “Beanpole” were played by Victoria Miroshnichenko (“Beanpole”) and Vasilisa Perelygina (Masha). “Beanpole” was Miroshnichenko’s debut, for which she was nominated in the European Film Awards.  

The film, which was released in Russia in 2019 and in May 2020 in the U.S., has gotten rave reviews in Russia and abroad.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama named "Beanpole" as one of his favorite movies in 2020. The New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis listed the Russian movie among the best films of this year, calling the film director “a heartbreaker and a major talent.” 

The film director was earlier included in the list of "30 most promising Russians aged under 30," according to Forbes magazine.

“Beanpole” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 and shortlisted for the Oscar as the best international movie. 

“Beanpole” is now available for watching on all the major streaming platforms, including YouTube, Google Play Movies and Apple ITunes.

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