Set in a remote monastery in Northern Russia, Pavel Longuine's acclaimed film tells the story of Father Anatoly (Pyotr Mamonov) whose bizarre conduct confuses and intrigues the rest of the order. Whilst some believe he has the power to heal, exorcise demons and foretell the future, Anatoly himself is in spiritual crisis, consumed with guilt and remorse over a terrible event from his past. Stunningly photographed and wonderfully acted by former rock musician Mamonov, 'The Island' is a haunting tale of faith and salvation.
It plays out like a fable: the holy fool, sometimes comic, with miraculous powers, who subverts & teases the conventional behaviour and devotions of his "superiors". All this framed in a neat story of guilt and redemption that goes back to a terrible event in World War II. Brilliant performances. The way the camera can linger on inanimate objects is reminiscent of Tarkovsky, and when you see Russian monks it's hard not to think of Andrei Rublev. But here the narrative style generally is much tighter: the plot rules. Which is probably wise - this director has his own less demanding style. Pyotr Mamonov is rightly praised for his stunning performance. It leaves me wanting to see more by this director Pavel Linguine (most commonly listed under the name Pavel Lungin).