review in VARIETY

New Int’l. Release
The Season of Mists

A Kinoglaz (Russia)/McCartney Media, Zaleski Enterprises (U.K.) production. (International sales: McCartney Media, London.) Produced by Neil McCartney, Mikhail Gagarin, Anna Tchernakova, Evgenia Tiradatova, Petr Cherniaev, Elena Badamiants, Olga Kennedy. Directed by Anna Tchernakova. Screenplay, Tchernakova, Evgenia Tiradatova.

With: Marina Blake, Ifan Huw Dafydd, Sergey Chonishvilli, Dudley Sutton, Alexandra-Maria Bryars, Heather Chasen, Eve Pearce, Janet Henfrey, Larissa Panchenko, Yuri Nifontov, Alexander Miakushko, Alexander Rezalin.

A married, middle-aged Russian woman living in rural Blighty considers throwing it all in for a hunky fellow countryman in “The Season of Mists.” Sophomore feature by Russian-born, Canada-based helmer Anna Tchernakova sustains a pleasantly low-key, Chekhovian mood throughout, appropriate for a tale of suppressed passion, but lacks punch and surprises. A few more fest dates are forecast before pic heads for a foggy future of limited release in Russia and ancillary.

Once an aspiring writer, Marina (soulful newcomer Marina Blake) has settled for a quiet life as a hairdresser in the U.K.’s Midlands, where she lives with her daughter from a previous relationship, Dasha (Alexandra-Maria Bryars), and good-hearted but dull mechanic husband Gregory (Ifan Huw Dafydd). A chance encounter with a traveling troupe of Russian classical musicians leads to an affair with violinist Sergey (Javier Bardem lookalike Sergey Chonishvilli), prompting Marina to consider what’s more important: love or stability. Script and thesping convince more in Russian than English (would-be “eccentric” Brit characters don’t help), but the pace picks up when the action moves briefly to Moscow. Tech credits are sturdy but not outstanding, although Dmitry Ermakov’s lensing enhances the mood.

Camera (color), Dmitry Ermakov; editor, Marat Magambetov; music, Gavin Bryars; art directors, Damien Creagh, Tchernakova. Reviewed on DVD, Hoveton, U.K., Aug. 28, 2008. (In Sochi Open Russian Film Festival.) Original title: Sezon tumanov. English, Russian dialogue. Running time: 101 MIN.

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