Silent Souls review

The story of a man on a journey to cremate the body of his beloved wife.

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The starnge burial practises of Russia’s ancient Meryan people unite two men, a corpse and a pair of caged birds in Aleksei Fedorchenko’s beguiling road movie.

It’s a poetic elegy to a lost tribe that conjures up the Meryans’ secret lifestyle via surreal rituals and stunning widescreen visuals, although an over-explained voiceover and clunky symbolism sometimes weaken the spell.

With its languid long takes, séance-like flashbacks and spiritual yearning, there’s nothing here Andrei Tarkovsky didn’t achieve in his prime, but at a mere 78 minutes it maintains focus with admirable purity.

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