Monday, February 3, 2014

ENG 282 3rd Week: Kukushka/The Cuckoo (Russia: Aleksandr Rogozhkin, 2002)

Ebony Nava's response:

The Cuckoo (Kukushka), directed by Aleksandr Rogozhkin, opens in 1944 when Finland and Germany are in somewhat of an alliance against Soviet Russia. German soldiers, following their captain's orders, are somberly chaining a man, dressed in an SS uniform (and who appears to be German), to a rock atop a mountain with a clear view of the surrounding area and a nearby road. There is a suspenseful feeling in the air which is magnified by the uneasy looks the men are exchanging, as well as the fact that it appears to the viewer as if a group of German soldiers is abandoning one of their own. After the man has been satisfactorily secured, it is made clear that the man is not German, but instead a Finnish pacifist/sniper. The Finn is left with his rifle (a sniper) as well as enough food and water for a couple days.

At this point, a bit of knowledge regarding the Finnish military is necessary to fully understand the film. According to Wikipedia, all Finish men are conscripted by the military, 80% of which are trained in a special field that is "needed" in wartime units. The Finnish soldier's area of expertise, then, was sniping – although he was by all means a pacifist who was drafted into the war.

The next scene shows a group of Soviet Russian soldiers preparing to deliver one of their own men to trial on allegations he was "anti-Soviet" (his journal with drawings or poems of some sort was the evidence to be used against him). It is later revealed that a young soldier embraced like a son (by the charged soldier) had turned him in. The road trip is cut short by an air assault that kills the two Russians escorting the accused to trial. The Finn observes this from his vantage point atop the mountain as he desperately tries to free himself from his chain before he meets his end (either at the hands of his "enemies" or from starvation).

From this point on in The Cuckoo there are only three characters, all of which speak different languages: 1) Veikko, the Finnish soldier (who appears to be in his early twenties), 2) Ivan, the soviet Russian (who appears to be in his forties), and 3) Anni a Lapp woman (who also appears to be in her twenties). (Veikko finally frees himself from the rock and finds his way to Anni's home, where she is nursing Ivan back to health. Both men stay with Anni under the premise of helping her prepare for the winter). The audience is in an obviously advantageous position as they can understand all of the dialogue and are able to find humor in the ensuing interactions of the characters and connect the dots to see a whole picture.

Besides the beautiful/gloomy landscape shots (winter was approaching) and convincing sounds that seemed to place the audience directly into the film (e.g. chilly wind, current in the stream, warm fire), two main (intertwined) ideas stood out to me in this film that used a simple Lapp woman to heal/unify the two soldiers (Finn and Soviet Russian) who were psychologically wounded by the war – without uttering a single word either of them could understand.

The first idea I was especially aware of was the effect/impact of adherence to authority. Beginning in the opening scene (described in first paragraph) the commonalities between the Finn and the Germans outnumbered the differences, yet adherence to their perceived authorities stopped them short from seeing each other as "brothers" (the soldiers were simply following their general's orders, the general following his superiors orders, so on and so forth). In fact, there were no differences other than their languages and ideological positions.

This concept followed directly into the second scene (described in second paragraph) yet came across as even more idiotic, as the Soviet and his fellow troops had everything in common (likely even a distaste for war and its horrors) yet Ivan was being ostracized due to an assumed ideological difference.

Then enter Anni; her simple life (epicurean-esque) and frankness, along with the way she embraced the small joys in her life shined a glaring spotlight on the inanity of adhering to cultural/national and perceived societal authority. She taught the two men, and the audience, how we as humans (as animals) all are capable of "speaking" the same language, regardless of what language we happen to speak (e.g. food, healing, sex/relationships, work – survival in a word). A lesson Ivan, especially, had a difficult time accepting.

The second idea that stood out to me was the way The Cuckoo challenged the patriarchal interpretation of gender types in which men are generally expected to be notably masculine and prepared to defend their women/children/country at a moment's notice, and women, comparably, are to be hyper feminine (viewed as largely helpless) and expected to be sexually pure and faithful to the death to their male partners (especially during wartime), both gender types that, today, are passed on/kept alive by socially constructed perceived male authority as opposed to any real authority (agricultural societies' tendency to rely on men as providers of food, therefore esteeming men of greater importance to collective survival).

Throughout the film, both men (Veikko and Ivan) were portrayed as fully able to be "masculine" while also being peaceful, creative and empathetic men. Anni, likewise was portrayed as "feminine" as well as resourceful, completely self reliant, and innocent; having no concept in her world of imposed societal standards/contests – of the "ownership" that members of patriarchal societies tend to bring into sexual relationships.

I couldn't help but think about how it is both frightening and empowering, in a sense, to mentally strip away the cultural and societal habits/beliefs/expectations/authorities that are prevalent in our (or any) society. Frightening to think about (yet empowering to realize) how easy it is to devalue a person as a human for no reason other than ideological differences – held so strongly that violent measures are resorted to in order to protect one's own – or one's own country's ideals. To think that, too often, minute differences among us as humans are transformed into huge boulders that "can't" be bypassed. To think how we, as humans, have self-imposed curses on ourselves and each other: borders, bodies, genders, colors. How unwilling/incapable many of us are to see past the labels we have constructed or the standards we have set, instead appealing to arbitrary authorities to justify our actions/prejudices.

The Cuckoo is (in my opinion) a masterpiece by Aleksandr Rogozhkin. From beginning to end the truly believable casting choices, crisp and hyper-realistic diegetic sound effects, as well as acute attention to visual detail, made this film one that was not only watched but also "experienced." Heavy issues, while dealt with in the film in [Anni's] light and humorous ways, were left to linger/fester with the viewer, challenging worldviews that are quick to resort to "us vs them"/"me vs you" thinking. One can only imagine a world where humanity as a whole heeded Anni's lessons (relayed through her attitude and life) and viewed those ideas/authorities that fail to contribute to collective survival and happiness as unnecessary and foreign concepts.

Patrick Reynold's response:

What I first thought was a War Story, took an unexpected turn and morphed into one of Spirituality and ultimately Love. During this transition I was gradually made aware of how cultural confusion and language barriers frame ( and most often in an artificial way ) the human perception of reality.

This obscure parcel of WWII also serves as a brief history lesson. A Finnish University student (Veikko, who I believe is a pacifist by nature) is conscripted and forced to fight with the German army. Do to his implied refusal to fight, he is literally shackled to Mother Earth and in effect left to die.

A mature Russian soldier (Ivan) who has been betrayed (with false charges) by a Comrade is on his way for court marshal. He and our Finnish pacifist both achieve freedom from their captivity by happenstance, and become juxtaposed in both military position (recall that the Russians were part of the allied forces during this war) and love for a free spirited, formidable and non-traditionally spiritual young lady named Anni. Anni's husband was also conscripted by the Germans from their farm, and has been absent for four long years.

As the two Soldier take refuge on Anni's farm, an ineffective dialogue of three different languages ensues. The theme of which is the aforementioned incorrect perception of each other. This is especially true of the two soldiers. In contrast, Anni and Viekko often seem to communicate in a way that is beyond lanquage: Perhaps because they are both such free spirits.

Ultimately a tragic injury inflicted on Veikko by Ivan, again during Ivan's inability to see Veikko as anything but the enemy, brings the two into harmony when Ivan see indisputable evidence of Veikko's true nature.

What follows was true magic for this reviewer. Anni begins a resuscitation of Veikko that is spiritual rather than medical, handed down to her by her elders. As this elaborate ceremony progresses, Veikko experiences an out of body vision which is absolutely beautiful in my estimation: My favorite part of this excellent film.

During Veikko's recovery, Anni beds Ivan with the much the same innocence and free spirit she earlier bedded Veikko.

As the two men recover, strengthen and bond, They know they must soon leave, as Anni will be unable to provide for them in the Winter months that are now imminent. The parting is much like that of two old friends, with each bound for his homeland. The story moves forward in time, as Anni narrates a tale of the two soldiers in a loving way to young twin boys about their Fathers.

Of technical interest are the camera angles. These volleyed from broad pans from strategic points of the beautiful landscape, to first and third person engagements of the characters: The first person perspectives were especially evoking. Also the extensive, if not constant, use of diagetic sound: In afterthought, it seems one might have a relatively high degree of understanding with just this and the tone of the characters language, sans video.

Kelly Battiato's response:

Kukushka or "The Cuckoo" directed by Aleksandr Rogozhkin looks at human interaction between three different people, with three different cultures, that all speak three different languages. The film starts off right before Finland is out of WW2 and the German army chains Veikko, a young man who is a sniper-kamikaze to a rock. He was essentially a war pacifist and as his punishment the Germans left him masquerading as a "cuckoo" which is military slang for a solitary sniper. Eventually, Veikko is able to free himself of the chain and finds refuge at a young Lapland women's rural farm. The film introduces Ivan a Russian, who is being sent to trial for being a Soviet trader. On the car ride to the trial, there are airplane bombings and the other Soviets are killed and Ivan is badly wounded. Anni (who also later reveals her parents names her Cuckoo), who is the young Lapland women finds Ivan and brings him back to her home to bring him back to health. We find out that Anni's husband has been gone for four years...I assume he is dead.

They are three unlikely people, who meet and are put in a situation where they need to get along and work together. Ivan needed Anni to nurse him back to health, the war at this point is still going on and Ivan and Veikko need Anni's home as a refuge. I think Anni mentally really needed that human interaction and also needed the man power to help gather food and survive the winter. There is a lot of comedy in this film with the three main characters not being able to understand each other, for example Ivan telling Anni how he feels, and Anni thinking he is talking about mushrooms. And when Veikko thinks Ivans name is Gerlost for the entire movie, up until the very end! Or when Ivan shoots Veikko and then realizes that Finland is out of the war, (that wasn't funny but is ironic). At times you think they are understanding each other, but in reality they have no idea what even one word means. The only way they really know what someone is saying is through body language or if someone physically shows them what they mean. I love that Veikko and Ivan are really similar, and value the same things like art, poetry, sensitive caring men...and neither one of them wants to be at war...but because of the language barrier they have no idea and think they are enemies. Someone in class said how they could picture the two guys drinking beer at a pub exchanging stories if they could only understand each other. Even though they are so similar, they view the world so differently. For example I kept seeing opposites, like Veikko is young, full of live, optimistic, feels free, happy, and is healthy. On the flip side, Ivan is older, feels run down/tired, negative, and seems sad/bitter. They are looking at the same picture, share the same values, but its like Veikko has on rose colored glasses and Ivan has black and grey colored ones. At one point I think, Veikko says the landscape is beautiful and Ivan says it is ugly. Then we have Anni who is a superstitious, sweet, caring, hardworking women who brings them together. She sees them not as enemies,but just as men. She has a very simple way of life, she probably doesn't know any different. Anni literally saves both men's lives in two ways, she nurses Ivan back to health, and then brings Veikko back from the spirit world and nurses him as well.She is also probably the only reason in the beginning that they don't end up killing each other. Anni also saves them by providing shelter and food and clothes for when they leave. At the very end of the film when Anni is telling this story to her two boys she mentions how a "bad man" hurt Veikko and his good friend brought him back...I thought that was very insightful. Because Ivan was his enemy, but once he realized the war was over he felt like he could be Veikko's friend. It is also kind of funny because Anni doesn't realize it was actually Ivan who shot him.

The diegetic sound was pretty amazing, and the only time there was a score was when there were shifts in the I noticed there was music right after Ivan and Veikko were fighting and then the next scene they were working together. The cinematography was not distracting and I think had some nice pans of the scenery and captured the landscape...I think it gave the film an overall feel of tranquillity. The spirit world sequence was I think one of the best scenes I have ever seen. The cinematography there made everything feel heightened and added suspense. The colors were eerie, kind of muted but vivid contrast. I loved how when Veikko comes back into reality, the transition from death to life and that huge gasp of his first breath.

Drama/comedy are my favorite kinds of film because I think they capture human nature and find the humor in life. Without humor life can sometimes be pretty bleak. And I love love love dramas, but sometimes I can't handle the heaviness...they affect me so much afterwords. I love the balance of a good layered story, with well-developed, interesting characters, beautiful cinematography, that is relatable. I think this film is a gem and had all the right elements. It really had all the right ingredients and was made the right way to turn out to be an amazing film.

This film I would say, goes along with the theme of the other films that we as humans are more a like then we think. Loved this film.

Christine Lund's response

Northern Finland in 1944: WWII has taken off. Veikko, a rebellious Finnish sniper who has had enough of fighting and is punished by being dressed in an SS uniform and chained to a rock. He meticulously attempts to free himself. A Russian named Ivan, who was on his way to a court martial has a stroke of luck when the jeep he's in is blown up, killing the driver and escort, but not him. Nearby a young woman named Ann helped Ivan and brought him back to her isolated farmstead where she has lived on alone for four years since her husband went to war. She tends her reindeer and gathers firewood.

The setup is confusing, as the subtitles don't adequately communicate the soldiers' situations and backgrounds; it was a lot easier to understand the beginning during a second viewing. But this tangle is worth enduring for the great three-person drama that makes the rest of the film after Anni finds the injured Ivan and drags him to her hut, not long before Veikko stumbles by, free of the rock, but still trying to find something to remove the iron from his leg. Each of the three is in a serious predicament - but everyone speaks a different language; the misunderstandings and understandings of their conversations are visible to us in the subtitles.

Veikko is thick and strong so the incongruity of his being a university intellectual who was reluctantly drafted makes him more real than some obvious skinny geek. Ivan, the jaded older man o'war is a quieter presence. And Anni is a young yet timeless creature of her land, dressed much as her ancestresses. She knows ancient magic and medicine. Her uncynical, optimistic security in herself seems almost like innocence: She has simply missed sex and she'd like some sense there are two men staying with her. In the end the war is over and Ivan and Veikko want to go back home and they leave Anni. Months go by and she gives birth to two boys and they grew up and she told them the story about their fathers. I really liked Veikko's character because he never wanted to fight he just wanted to be a student but got recruited instead.

Eric Acton's response

September 1944, Finland gets out of the second World War. In the opening of the film, it shows a Finnish sniper- Veikko getting chained to a rock and left for dead because he refused to fight in the war. You see that he is trying each and every way to free himself, you can also see that in some of his tactics that he is a very smart man. This part of the film can relate to human nature by proving where there is a way, there is a will, especially if it comes to life or death.

Later on in the film you meet a Captain of the Soviet Army, whose name is Ivan/Gerlost. He is with 2 other men who have seemed to have captured him. Ivan survives by shooting the two men, and running away. Ivan is the first one to find Anni, the Lapp woman that both guys find shelter with.

Ivan and Veikko both seem to have feelings for Annie which is obvious all throughout the film. I believe that Ivan's feelings for Annie are true and heartfelt, as Veikko's feelings were maybe lust, because he had not seen a woman in years. Veikko is the lucky man, because Annie chooses him at first, and decides to sleep with him. Ivan becomes jealous because of that. Long story short, both men even though go through some major obstacles with each other seem to slowly get along, and become friends.

Looking at this film you can relate it to maybe your own life or someone else you know. What would you do if you were put in the situation that both men were in, would or could you survive? Would you do the same thing as these 2 men, or would you change the way they did things? Would you allow jealousy to come between you and a friend or would you just let it go?

Sean Bolton's response:

I really enjoyed this film, I loved that there were 3 characters that could not communicate. The beauty of the film is that it shows that we as humans feel threatened by people that we do not relate to because they don't speak the same language or from different backgrounds. There is a huge language barrier that is shown in this film, it shows the conflict that such a barrier can bring to light. I loved the Anni in this film, at the end of the film she is telling the story of what happened and it is beautiful that she saw the best in both Ivan and Viekko.

I thought it was really tragic that Ivan and Viekko were so alike and for the majority of the film could not get along. they both had a thing for Anni, they both loved poetry, they both were forced to fight in a war they had no desire to fight in, they both were prisoners essentially sentenced to death. These two men fought like cats and dogs until Ivan shot Viekko because of a misunderstanding. Anni said it best when telling the story at the end, the two men left and a bad man shot Viekko and Ivan his good friend brought him back and saved him.

Until the time that Ivan shot Viekko the men were not able to understand one another and once Ivan shot Viekko and read the note stating the war was over they would have probably still be in conflict until an understanding had been reached.

I thought the scene with the blonde boy was amazingly well done, Viekko is Dying in the land of the dead and is being lead by this boy, who looks like the boy that would be his son, this is beautiful because it shows the circle of life, with death there is always new life.

This is definitely is a film I would recommend to a friend and know they would enjoy it.

Destini Wright's response:

The Aleksandr Rogozhkin was truly intriguing. Although in the beginning I did feel it started out a little slow, I wasn't sure that it was going to be a film i was able to get fully into. The diegetic sound that was used however, did almost place you there on that rock in the midst of the soldiers that would later lead us to meet one of our main characters Veikko.

When we first met Veikko, right off the back we can assume that he isn't your typical soldier. He is smart, he understands things that most people, including myself would never in a million years figure out. As we know he was left for dead pretty much by the solider for being a pacifist and not wanting to be apart of the war. Although at the time we do not know why. After seeing the things he is able to do to try and free himself such as pasting the glasses lens together and adding water to accelerate the heat that passes through, to know that when the rock he is pinned to gets hot enough it would begin to break apart. Even more we can see that when he starts to take apart bullets to make almost a make shift bomb he understands his limits that he is able to use without actually harming himself. Piece by piece we can see that he is a man of knowledge, and so when we later find out that we was recruited by the army to fight in the war he was a student just like myself and all of us in this class. He was uprooted from his life and then put to death in so many words for not just falling into the pattern in which they wanted. They use these events and how they unfold to lead us up to the personality and the background before we even know these things.

Ironically we meet our other two characters in this time we see, Ivan who is presented to us totally backwards. When we see this rough and tough military man who is being hauled off also to his death you assume that he is of a totally strict mean straight forward background since he is being accused of being a communist and going against his country. I myself was very surprised that when his character is broken down that he is actually a kind soul, he has been hurt he has been heartbroken and he has issues that even he himself can not easily admit. Ivan is a poet, he writes to keep himself sane while at war. His poems were read by another solider and misconceived and therefore in a way just throwing him under the bus. The two men are actually very much alike, as we can later see in events that unfold.

Both of these men are in need and taken in my Annie, the woman that we meet after the car explosion trying to burry the injured men, Ivan included. She brings him back to her home to try and care for him when Veikko comes across them.

The choice he made to bring these three together is very interesting mostly because we soon learn that none of the three can speak or understand the same language. It is almost like a guessing game, imagine walking into your home one day and not being able to communicate with anyone around you? Although this presents as a very hard matter you can see that it almost brings them all together. Through the cultural confusion friendships and even parenthood are formed.

We see that the two sides are totally different on the outlook of the war, Ivan never really understands that Veikko is over the war that he doesn't want to fight, until it is too late that is. We see that Ivan doesn't hesitate to shoot Veikko when he has the chance, only to find the flyer stating that the war was over. Nothing about Veikko changed in that moment to make him any better of a person, it was Ivan who changed. His loyalty didn't have to lie in the hands of his country anymore it lied within himself. He then carries Veikko back to the house and attempts to tell Annie that is was he who shot him although she doesn't understand him. And knowing her feelings for Veikko that was probably for the best. This scene portrays perfectly what Annie says to her children in the end of the movie, "A bad man shot him and his good friend carried him back". Ivan was until that point a bad man he was carrying with him all the burden that he had carried from the war and wasn't able to set that aside to see the good that lies within someone until shown by someone else.

This movie overall is a huge supporter in how to never judge a book by its cover. We can't go by what people openly present to us in the words of lies that they may feed us or what they think we simply want to hear. We have to look at human beings as what they are non-perfect, damaged, foreign books that require us to peal back each page and rewrite there our own story from our own perspective. Because in the end that is all that really matters.

John Moloney's response:

This film was amazing and now that I have that off my chest let’s get this review started. I felt that "Cuckoo “did a wonderful job of showing us how basic human emotions not only are the same in different cultures but how they can transcend boundaries of culture example language. Before writing my response to this film I tracked down a copy so I could re watch in hopes of finding better understanding for some of the more "Dialogue" heavy scenes, even though no of the three characters speak the same language. Thinking about the hate expressed by while watching Viktor muster up all the energy left in his body to try and stab Veikko makes the contrast between him carrying Veikko back to Anni all the more beautiful. Anni playing not only the maternal role but also the object of both the men’s sexual desires uses her power over them as a common goal bringing the two soldiers together. The common goal they shared, wanting to please Anni, showed how other than uniforms and backgrounds the two men both felt the same emotions throughout the film unbeknownst to them due to the language barrier. As the film is ending the final progression of scenes struck me as very powerful, with Anni narrating you immediately get the sense that Veikko and Viktor are about to depart from her. She tells the story of their winter departure as we see that she had made them both fur suits from her beloved reindeer symbolizing her equal love for both men. Then Veikko and Viktor reaching a mountain ridge head their own cardinal directions home but not before a mutual expressing of comradery and respect. As Anni finishes up her narration you see her and two young blonde boys sitting in the sunlight of spring and we realize that she had been telling the boys as she called it the story of their fathers. From start to finish “Cuckoo” took a film that basically only had three characters and managed to paint a beautiful picture of how we can overcome cultural boundaries through interpersonal communication.

Seth Gardner's response

I hate to be predictable, but like most preconditioned westerners, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. The idea of 3 people in the middle of a contested war zone, two of whom are enemies coexisting with a language barrier is an entertaining situation. Viekko is a pacifist german, Ivan is a crazy Russian(trying to and almost killing viekko on multiple occasions) and Anni who hasnt seen her husband in 3 years seems just happy to have some company. From Anni's naturalistic life style, customs and abilities and morals, to Viekkos youthful interest in everything, to Ivan trying to prove something the whole time, the Cuckoo covers a lot of ethical areas.

The scene that really pulls everything together is when Ivan and Viekko leave to make sure the area is safe and ivan finds a gun and shoots viekko, his enemy in the back. Once he reads the letter that Viekko is holding he realizes he is no longer his enemy and sees Viekko for his friend who has been helping him survive and suddenly empathizes in what hes done to viekko and then becomes as determined to save Viekko as he was to kill Viekko. To me this illustrates the simplicity in the ability to understand that someone who you hate just another living human that at the next juncture you care about passionately.

The other main thing I brought away from this is that Viekko isnt the man you think he is throughout the movie. Marooned on a rock and with his buzz cut he just seems like youre average dumb as hell 20-something. He proves his worth by getting out of the irons hes in and then continually throughout the situation is creative in his ability to assist to get things done.

Ivan likewise seems like a wise old man at first, but really his actions are really what you would expect from someone like Viekko on first glance. Genuinely stubborn in his ways, and kind of a sociopath. You also get a feeling from the movie that Ivan would be good at fighting or be quite a physical presence when in fact he gets his ass kicked by Viekko on multiple occasions.

Theres really quite a lot about this film that I enjoyed and Ill probably watch it again in the future.

Emily Hensley's response:

“Kukushka” meaning “The Cuckoo” in English, is a Russian film directed by Aleksandr Rogozhkin. This dramatic film with a much needed comedic twist takes place during World War II. Many themes are represented throughout this film such as loyalty, friendship trust and love. During times of war people often become disconnected and alone. This film portrays how three people from different cultures and backgrounds who speak three completely different languages come together to form an uncommon bond.

War is full of death, fear and enemies but true friends are hard to find. In the beginning of this film two soldiers have both been betrayed by their own. One chained to a rock and left for dead and the other to be tried and most likely sentenced to death. Against all odds both survive their punishment and end up on Anni’s farm. Ivan the Russian Soviet wounded and betrayed by a man who he treated like a son. Ivan’s poetic thoughts caused him to be considered a trader and then he becomes a person of fear, he is on edge and finds it hard to trust. On the other hand Veikko the bright eyed young Finnish Solider, is clearly a lover not a fighter as he was punished because he didn’t want to fight. He tries again and again to make it clear to Ivan that he is a friend not a foe but with Ivan’s trust issues and the miscommunication between the language barriers he still believes Veikko is an enemy.

Anni, the pivotal character in this film; is a young Lapp woman whose husband was sent off to war four years ago, but has yet to return. She is the character who brings everyone together, she is thrilled to have two men at her disposal and most likely happy to have some company on her farm. As this story unfolds these three people begin to work together, rely on and need each other.

Although none of these characters understand each other when they speak, at times it may seem that they grasp what each other is saying, however, this is just the comedic relief of the film. As in the scene where Anni gives Ivan the infusion for the mushrooms. These comedic scenes help lighten the mood of the war and what is still happening outside the farm. Ironically with all the chaos that war brings this is actually a feel good film.

There is such beauty in the way this film was shot, the scenery although dreary and somewhat dark is absolutely gorgeous with the landscape and natural habitat. The camera is angled in a way so that we see the entire background and have views of the sky. There is also a lot of synchronous and diegetic sounds in the film that create a real feeling that the audience is there. The audience can see the water tricking ling down the stream but the sound of the water is almost just as important as the sight of it. Every sound in the film is amplified and intensified and then with the view of these breathtaking surroundings the audience is forced to ingest it all; this is art.

While watching this film something to think about is: What does Cuckoo mean? Most of us associate the word cuckoo with a crazy person or a bird. Cuckoo has its many meanings in this film while Anni much like a bird, her native name is Cuckoo, Veikko is considered a Finnish Cuckoo Sniper and well Ivan is just a little Cuckoo as he becomes possessive over Anni. In their own way they all are somewhat Cuckoo but isn’t everyone? Anni with her witch doctor healing methods and her flighty love and need for both men, Vekkio with his almost too happy, too chatty attitude with these people who cannot even understand what he is saying and Ivan with his paranoid thoughts, always trying to start a fight with Vekkio. These character’s personalities work together and makeup a great dynamic for the film.

This film is truly an inspiration and an eye opening view that sometimes we need to lean on people. I think even in today’s time of war and the stereotypes that come with it that we forget we can find a friend in the most unlikely person. This film touches me as it is focuses on the cultural differences of others and how people view others based on what our society wants us to see. This film represents in its own way that stereotypes do make up the person, we are all human and we all need the same things to survive.

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