"Elegy of the Land (Maria
/ Last Day of a Rainy Summer)"
Two early short films by Russian auteur Alexander
Ark) are collected in Elegy of the Land. Both of these
moody, melancholy works emphasize the significance of the Russian land to
its people on an almost spiritual level. Maria, made in memory of
Russian peasant Maria Semionovna Voinova, serves as a requiem for a
hard-working woman as well as a lament over the loss of her a way of
life--after she died, her secrets and work methods died with her. The
Last Day of a Rainy Summer, shot in 1978 on a collective farm,
captures the daily routines of a community whose lifestyle was fading even
as it was being chronicled. Russian with optional English, French,
Spanish, or Italian subtitles.