Dear Comrades! tells the true story of the massacre in Novocherkassk on June 2, 1962, which took place in the middle of a demonstration by the locomotive factory workers, as a result of rising food prices as well as orders to increase production quotas without increasing wages. This tragedy was covered up for 30 years, before finally being exposed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Andrei Konchalovsky, who directed and wrote the script (with Elena Kiseleva), recounts the event from the eyes of Lyuda (Julia Vysotskaya), a city council member and Stalin loyalist. Top Movie Site
“Could the USSR starve?”, He said to one of his friends, who was worried about the welfare of society after food prices soared. Lyuda strongly believed in Soviet superiority. As with the visual choice of the film, the protagonist’s conservatism is shown through his perspective towards the world, which tends to be black and white. “It all made sense then. Who is an enemy and who is one of ours”, said Lyuda when responding to the behavior of his daughter, Svetka (Yuliya Burova).
Contrary to Lyuda, Svetka who works in a locomotive factory believes in the importance of democracy and free speech. When Svetka took part in the strike and then democracy, Lyuda was confused. Aren’t opponents of state decisions an enemy? Didn’t the enemy come from outside? How could his daughter be an enemy, when Lyuda was a loyal servant of the country? All that he could not process. Best Movie
At the height of the demonstration, without Lyuda knowing, the central government ordered KGB soldiers and snipers, pouring hot lead on the demonstrators. About 80 people died, but Lyuda could not find the whereabouts of his daughter. Between the chaos and the conditions of the blockaded city, Lyuda tries to find Svetka, but instead he finds something else, namely the fact that the state and government that he has been steadfast in defending, are in fact so arbitrary.
One of the most astonishing (though not surprising) moments was when several KGB members discussed the identity of the demonstration provocateurs. Not going through a detailed investigation. They just looked at the photos the spies had taken, then crossed the faces they thought were provocateurs. On what basis is a person called a provocateur? Apparently only from trivial things, for example “His face looks hard”.
Dear Comrades! is the process of the main character realizing his mistake in seeing the world. In the hands of Julia Vysotskaya, Lyuda’s transformation was satisfying. Conclusively, Vysotskaya portrays the transformation of a woman who is stubborn, into a fragile figure when she realizes that what she believes begins to crumble. His cold face began to be filled with terror, like an innocent boy who had just learned the darkness of the real world.
Konchalovsky applies a black-and-white color combination plus an aspect ratio of 1.33: 1, not only for visual beauty (although this is the result), but also to amplify intensity. The audience seemed to be made to feel the tightness experienced by the victims of repression. The feeling of tightness caused by the lack of freedom, as if there were eyes watching, and if someone was caught speaking even a little wrong, life could be lost.
The government tried to erase the massacre from historical records, such as the blood at the demonstration site which was trying to remove. When the blood continued to make an impression, then on top of it, new asphalt was added. Dark, tragic, but Dear Comrades! refuses to end the story with total bitterness. On the contrary, we are even given hope, in the form of human awareness, that because the country’s conditions are so bad, they should try to be better. Movie Review