Watch Little Vera
- 1 hr 50 min
In 1988, Russian director Vasily Pichul made a movie called Little Vera, which has been widely regarded as an atypical depiction of Soviet life. This movie was the first Soviet film to contain a sexually explicit scene and to use vulgar language, causing much controversy upon its release. But beyond its controversial nature, Little Vera tells a captivating story about one young woman's struggle to break free of societal norms and oppressive family pressures to find her own identity.
The movie is set in the Soviet Union during the 1980s, in the midst of the perestroika era, where significant changes were occurring to the national social structure. Vera (Natalya Negoda) is a free-spirited, rebellious, and modern woman who dreams of a life that is more than what her small town can provide. However, Vera is stuck in a mundane and restrictive lifestyle, living with her alcoholic father and overbearing mother, who have dreams for her to conform and settle down with a stable job and a traditional family.
Despite the pressures from her parents and the close-knit community, Vera becomes involved with Sergei (Andrey Sokolov), a charming engineering student, who doesn't quite fit in with the norms of their conservative culture, and develops a meaningful relationship with him. Sergei introduces Vera to a world of intellectual thought, new experiences, and deep love. Their relationship, however, is challenged by Vera's family and the larger society, who see Sergei as an outsider and a threat to their community's way of life.
Throughout the film, we see the conflicting struggle between Vera's independent spirit and her family's traditional ideals. Vera is forced into a delicate balancing act, navigating her own desires and aspirations with the pressure to conform to society's expectations. The film is a realistic and bittersweet portrayal of how social change can be viewed in different ways within a context of generational and cultural divides.
This film contains many elements that show Soviet Russia's internal crisis in the 1980s, particularly how social change, urbanization, and rising individualism had affected family and traditional gender roles. The film provokes the viewer to analyze their own beliefs on how our culture influences our identity, and explores the complexities of Soviet society during this time. We see that Vera has an eventful journey, as she discovers a different way of living that is outside the constraints of her parents' expectations, while at the same time, trying to remain in their good graces.
Little Vera is a powerful character study of a woman who is trying to break free from the norms of her society while facing immense pressure from her family and her community. The film is a depiction of how social norms can restrict and control individuals, particularly women. Symbolically, Vera's father represents the old, traditional ways of the USSR, while her mother is a representation of the new, emergent Russia. The characters serve to illustrate the dichotomy of both the social and individual conflicts faced by the young people during this time.
In terms of the performances, Natalya Negoda delivers a stellar performance as the vibrant and determined Vera, full of energy and charisma. She represents the millennial generation and the changing values which are at variance with the lifestyles of their parents. Yuriy Nazarov also provides a well-acted performance as Vera's Father, showcasing his love for Vera but also his rigid adherence to traditional Soviet norms.
Overall, the movie Little Vera is a thought-provoking and emotional film that delivers a strong message about individualism and societal change. Through the character of Vera, we witness the uphill battle that many young people face in trying to create a life for themselves that is different from the status quo. It is a movie that asks questions about ownership over who we are and who we become, and whether society should dictate our life choices. In a way, this film is also a reflection of the turmoil and upheaval that the Soviet Union went through during the 1980s, ultimately paving the way for change and progress.
Little Vera is a 1989 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.