- Rather an Orthodox Christian testimony... but also a film accessible to anyone, regardless religious background 5/29/2007 12:00:00 AM by realx-1
Some people saw this film as a religious propaganda. I don't think it is so - "Ostrov" it's rather a testimony, for those interested, about the Russian soul, which is deeply religious and rooted in Orthodox Christianity. I think the main target of the movie were the Russian themselves, or maybe, by extension, those nations who are traditionally Orthodox Christian, but forgot their roots.
The movie tries to bring into attention the essence of Orthodox Christian belief - the reunification of man with God, which is done through repentance and unceased prayer, in humbleness and ascetic struggle. According to the same beliefs, God is the one who works this union in co-operation with the man.
The main character, Fr. Anatoli, was inspired from the lives of some Russian "fools for Christ" - men who tried to hide their sanctity and keep their humbleness behind a mask of apparent insanity - especially from the life of St. Theophile the Fool for Christ.
I think the success gained by this movie in Russia and beyond is determined by the inner identification of the viewer with the concepts revealed in it.
Nevertheless, beside it's religious significance, "Ostrov" has a brilliant image directing, with superb shots of the remote locations, and a very good and balanced script - even a surprising final turnaround, for those who may have felt the need for it. You may think of it, in a way, as a sort of "fictional documentary".
As a final note, I think the movie requires at least a second viewing, both for deepening and re-enjoying it.
- surprisingly great film 12/24/2006 12:00:00 AM by marokand
I believe that "Ostrov" (the Island) is among the great pieces of world and Russian cinema somewhere close to Bergman and Tarkovsky. For Russia - it is an important and timely message. For those who want to know more of "the mysterious Russian soul" - it is an excellent description. I've hardly seen a better one. For all taking the spiritual development seriously - the film will also be useful no matter what is their religion. People say that they are becoming better and cleaner after watching the film. Those who used to a lot of action on the screen would require to concentrate. It is more a meditation rather than a blockbuster. Strongly recommend to watch.
- A very spiritually moving film, showing a unique world. 2/15/2007 12:00:00 AM by Tgrain
Ostrov gives the viewer a rare and deeper than ever before glimpse at a "starets" (elder) and "iurodivy" (fool for Christ), embodied by the main character Fr. Anatoli. These spiritual figures - unique to Eastern Orthodox Christianity - possess a prophetic spiritual insight, and in the case of the iurodivy use odd behavior and humor to spiritually awaken those around them. The film is set in an isolated skete during Soviet times, when Russian society was forcibly steeped into atheism.
The film's actors deliver top notch performances, the cinematography is excellent, and the sound design is thought through. A great film for those who want to get a truly spiritual experience, and encounter a world that few in the west are familiar with.
- Heartwrenching movie 2/6/2011 12:00:00 AM by sergepesic
This is an Orthodox movie in its core, and it might not appeal to people of different religious backgrounds. Orthodox church is not a church of comfortable and simple, but ridiculous answers. Its path is hard and full of obstacles, and the fight for salvation, is life long. Of course, this is completely opposite to evangelical, easy fix theology that calms the minds of the naive folk. This movie is not an advert for converting to the Orthodox faith. How could it be? All three monks that we see in this movie are struggling to understand their spiritual journey.Being religious is a tough gift, not for the faint of heart.
- Masterpiece 11/24/2006 12:00:00 AM by chaos1-2
This movie is absolutely great. Greatly filmed, greatly directed, greatly acted. But thats nothing to what hides behind all the image, where this movie becomes a masterpiece. Its about a life of a man, who made a sin, and all his life have been asking god to forgive him for his sin. In his praying he have got a power to help other people to get rid of their sins. And thats about the power of religion and faith. Can't say anything more without spoiling the plot. This movie may seem to be just about monks and church, but its much wider. Its about pure people.