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Thief (1997)
     

Thief (1997)

Director: Pavel Chukhrai

Cast: Vladimir Mashkov, Yekaterina Rednikova, Misha Philipchuk

 
A boy and his mother try to get by in the Soviet Union of the 1950s in this tragedy written and directed by Pavel Chukrai. The joint Russian-French production opens with a woman falling down in the snow and mud to give birth to a child in 1946. The boy's father is a soldier who died in the war. Katya (Yekaterina Rednikova) and her son Sanya (Misha Philipchuk) are next

Overview

A boy and his mother try to get by in the Soviet Union of the 1950s in this tragedy written and directed by Pavel Chukrai. The joint Russian-French production opens with a woman falling down in the snow and mud to give birth to a child in 1946. The boy's father is a soldier who died in the war. Katya (Yekaterina Rednikova) and her son Sanya (Misha Philipchuk) are next seen six years later on a train. Poor and desperate, she falls in love with a rakish soldier, Tolyan (Vladimir Mashkov). Tolyan pretends to be Katya's husband and uses his credentials as a war veteran to get an apartment without paying money in advance -- he turns out to be a brutal and abusive man. He teaches Sanya his ruthless code of manhood while rolling razor blades in his mouth with his tongue. Tolyan also brags to the boy that he is a secret son of Stalin. After several weeks of mooching off and seducing the other tenants, Tolyan buys them all dinner and tickets to a circus. During the performance he sneaks back to the building and robs everyone. Katya is suspicious that he is carrying on with a female tenant he has been flirting with, and she returns to catch him in his burglary. He tells her she can escape with him or stay behind, but she has no skills and no prospect of work, so she takes Sanya and follows him. Katya becomes a part of his con game as they move from city to city, working the same schemes. Tolyan also teaches Sanya his thieving ways. ~ Michael Betzold

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Vor is a perfect example of what characterizes many of the films that get nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film: a sincere little movie placed in the historical past, told through the memories of a child, warm and sentimental and perfectly pleasant, and almost completely forgettable. This is the sort of foreign film that seems to have been made with an eye toward international distribution. But this is not entirely a criticism. Vor may not offer anything new, but it is an enjoyable picture in its own way. Director and writer Pavel Chukhrai underscores the transitory nature of the characters' lives by the constant presence of trains, and he does have a knack for capturing characters that feel true even within the confines of a conventional story. Ultimately, what holds Vor together are the central performances by the three stars. Vladimir Mashkov combines sexual charisma with an edgy personality that makes it look as if he is always on the verge of a burst of violence; Yekaterina Rednikova conveys the fragile personality of a woman who is able to endure what she needs to in order to raise her son, but she also clings all too easily to a domineering man; and Misha Philipchuk impressively carries much of the film as the young Sanya. One suspects that he doesn't give a performance, but rather one was coaxed out of him by the director; but regardless of how it happened, he still pulls off the important scenes. However, all three are too attractive and healthy to fully convey the sort of desperate lives these characters have lived. Vor narrowly averts being bogged down in its own saccharine nature and makes for easily digestible entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/11/2010
UPC:
0887090024006
Original Release:
1997
Source:
Olive Films
Presentation:
[Color]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:34:00

Special Features

International trailer; Behind the scenes, from the 1997 Venice film festival ; Photo gallery

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Vladimir Mashkov Tolyan
Yekaterina Rednikova Katia
Misha Philipchuk Sanya
Ervand Arzumanyan Actor
Amalia Mordvinova Actor
Lidiya Savchenko Actor

Technical Credits
Pavel Chukhrai Director,Screenwriter
Vladimir Dashkevich Score Composer
Marina Dobryanskaya Editor
Vladimir Klimov Cinematographer
Natalia Kucherenko Editor
Aku Louhimies Screenwriter
Natalia Moneva Costumes/Costume Designer
Victor Petrov Production Designer
Jari Rantala Screenwriter
Igor Tolstunov Producer
Paavo Westerberg Screenwriter
Yulia Yegorova Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Thief
1. Introduction [7:47]
2. Looking For Room [7:39]
3. Beat Me Up [11:04]
4. The Circus [9:10]
5. My Happiness [7:36]
6. We're No Trouble [7:21]
7. Hold on Squirt [7:12]
8. On a Mission [6:19]
9. I'm Leaving [6:25]
10. Daddy [6:30]
11. What Do You Want? [6:33]
12. New Life [10:37]

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