Koktebel review

A widowed father (Igor Chernevich) with a drink problem and his withdrawn 11-year-old son (Gleb Puskepalis) embark on foot on an epic journey south from Moscow to the Crimean town of Koktebel. Hitching rides, they carry out odd-jobs at strangers' houses in return for food and shelter. Dad wants to stay for a few months with the single female doctor who treats his gunshot wounds; the kid wants to press on alone to the Black Sea...

Co-directed by young Russian filmmakers Boris Khlebnikov and Alexei Popogrebsky, this is a lyrical and laconic road movie which echoes that other recently released post-Soviet tale of a symbolic father-son journey, The Return. It may lack the latter's compelling mysteriousness, but Koktebel benefits from some effectively understated lead performances and accomplished cinematography, which captures the stark beauty of the autumnal landscapes its unnamed characters traverse.

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