Watch Soul

  • R
  • 1981
  • 1 hr 33 min
  • 4.3  (193)

Viktoria Svobodina is a young but already well known popular singer in the Soviet Union, living in Moscow. Her popularity reaches the heights whilst the band she is performing with remains in the shadows. At an important live concert the band turns off the sound, but Viktoria keeps singing the song, changing the lyrics into "I will sing till the end". As they are returning from the concert she stops the car and tears off the posters of herself on the walls of the concert hall and leaves the band. So does her beloved Igor, living her for an independent career of his own, eventually ending up playing piano in a small caf.

As her career grows, her producer arranges new concert performances for her. However, something starts going wrong with the voice of the singer. After a thorough medical examination, the doctor forbids her to sing for at least three months or else she would lose her voice completely. She decides to make a break and informs her producer, as she receives an invitation to sing at an important state concert. She concedes to requests and performs in the Kremlin, as she was not informed that the concert will be aired live on major Soviet television channels. She also receives a telephone call from an old school friend who invites her to the recording of the new song in duet in Saint Petersburg. After the recording Viktoria meets with her old friend again and learns that he is playing in a rock band. She visits their rock concerts incognito and considers this new music style. Her producer learns that she is in fact singing, whereas he persuaded all the other clients to postpone their requests for her to perform.

Viktoria finally decides to take a break and leaves for a summer resort on the sea shore. The name of the movie comes from the dialog which takes place in the middle of the movie between Viktoria and an older stranger at this isolated vacation resort, during a sea stroll on a pier. Viktoria confesses her fears of losing her voice and the stranger comforts her saying that the songs of a singer live as long as the soul of the singer remains alive. This is when Viktoria asks: "Soul? But where is this soul?". Her producer finally finds her here, even though she was hiding anonymously. An important international song competition is going to take place in Germany and she was selected to represent the country.

Viktoria had no choice and left the resort immediately with the producer. To go to the competition she needed however a new band, and the producer found her an unknown one, playing on the outskirts of Moscow rock band (role played by Time Machine). Viktoria meets for the first time the band and recognizes the main player - her old school friend, although they do not make a sign of it in front of the producer. The first meeting with the whole group was not successful as they wanted to keep their music style and saw Svetlana's proposal of collaboration as a mere circumstantial choice of the top Soviet artist. Nevertheless, rehearsals begin, and that's precisely at this part of the movie, where the first Soviet modern musical video clip was made with Sofia Rotaru, Mikhail Boyarsky and Mashina Vremeni band, all dressed in futuristic costumes made of tight shiny stretchy fabric, jumping on the trampoline.

Alexander Stefanovich, "Mosfilm" producer, (19761980):

The interesting thing about the movie, is that we were filming the first, probably the first in the Soviet Union video clip. We have dressed our artists in golden and silver costumes which were sewn up from up to down. The trampoline was installed underneath, and as they were jumping, we were filming as they were singing in the air, as they were flying. This was an overwhelming scene for viewers - nobody understood how did we manage to make it.[6]

Viktoria leaves with the new band for Germany for the international song festival Intermusik. During the days preceding her appearance, she falls in love with her old friend, and separates from her producer, who saw in her a mere glory machine. During a travel in the North Sea on a yacht she breaks down with a sharpening of her illness. The German doctor present on board detects the true reason - her ill voice and lungs, and advises her to stop singing immediately. Viktoria asks him to be silent and appears on the stage during the competition, where she wins. The last scene of the movie is ambiguous, as according to one interpretation she loses her voice completely after, and according to another - the final accord is the victory at the competition.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 33 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.3  (193)