Our review of Unclenched Fists, the Russian western by Kira Kovalenko

CRITICISM – Crowned with the Un certain regard prize at the last Cannes festival, the second film by this 32-year-old director paints the portrait of a wounded young woman in search of freedom in a harsh and disturbing Russia.

At 32, this tall, flamboyant red-haired Russian has energy to spare. Born in the Caucasus, in Naltchik, Kira Kovalenko nevertheless expresses herself calmly, without ever departing from a soothing calm.

His second film, Unclenched Fists, presented at Cannes last summer, won the Un Certain Regard prize. Kovalenko recounts the upset destiny of Ada, a young woman who lives in North Ossetia, in a former mining town crossed by large crowded trucks raising tons of dust. With these deserted landscapes, the harshness of its climate, the harshness of the men who live there, having fun with rodeos of tired cars or swimming in frozen lakes, the film has something of a harsh western, but so endearing.

Even if she does not lack charm, the heroine (played by Milana Aguzarova) often hides her face under the raised collar of her tracksuit. His eyes, however, say a lot about his secret distress. Shy, this erased young girl…

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