Saturday, 21 November 2009


In quiet contrast to the existentialist Soviet hero films being churned out at the time, Boris Barnet’s By The Bluest of Seas presents a warm, compassionate alternative which was to be heavily championed by French New Wave directors later on. Our heroes are Alyosha and Yussuf, two sailors washed up onto an unnamed island where they stay to work in the local farming community. Before long, the men’s attention is focused on flirtatious gamine Misha, who toys with their hearts while grappling with her own emotional problems. Through all their pleasantries and playfulness, all three characters have their desires denied, but by dint of their familiarity, no hard feelings are experienced.

Occasionally, the film invites more fatalistic readings, a practice which has muddied several minor Soviet works into obscurity. But even in light of its melancholic undercurrents, the film is optimistic through and through, the intermittent musical numbers painting this as a film to enjoy and cherish. The photography here is gorgeous, reflecting the film’s more inexpressible depths. Waves undulate ominously throughout the film, reminding us that the characters are isolated together on this detached fragment of land, while splashes of sunlight echo the carefree exchanges in this halcyon love triangle. But nothing can compare to the heart-stopping slow-motion sequence where a distraught Misha, fingers defiantly in her ears, lets her broken necklace slip from her hands, the crystal beads falling like voluminous tears. A clear inspiration to Jules et Jim, this joyful jaunt is guaranteed to raise a smile.


  1. Hi there,
    where have you seen this film? As far as I know, it's available on DVD only through the French company

  2. Unfortunately, the French one is the only version available on DVD at the moment, but I'm sure there'll soon be a move towards releasing more of these Soviet classics in the English-speaking world. Until then, I think there's a copy floating about on the internet somewhere, which isn't ideal for various reasons, but at the very least means that people are seeing it.

    Hope this helped!