DVD - 2008 | Russian
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Suffocated by modern-day living, a buttoned-down headmistress reminisces about her glory days as a World War II pilot.


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Sep 27, 2013

I would consider this film to be a masterpiece. It’s a little strange and shocking that it is not better known, and not a part of the discussion in some of the upper tier films in the history of cinema. Is it because the central figure is a woman? Is it because the director is a woman? I don't recall whether Wings received any votes in the 2012 Sight and Sound poll.

Nadezhda Petrovna, played by Maya Bulgakova, is a former WWII fighter pilot for the Soviet army, now a 41-year-old provincial schoolmistress. She seeks meaning in her life, but only seems to find it in the memories of her youth while in the military. One of the questions the films asks is what is the role of women in the Soviet Union. On the one hand, Marxist ideology supports women has having the same intrinsic value as men; thus Nadya serves as a pilot. On the other hand, Russian culture is chauvinistic, and Nayda may not enter a restaurant without being escorted by a man.

It’s a fascinating character study. I found it to be influenced in equal parts by Bergman and Truffaut, without being derivative of either.

Jun 30, 2010

What a wonderful director Shepitko was! Fascinating study of a strong, intelligent woman in Soviet society. The lead, Bulgakova, is a marvelous subject. The end is breathtaking. Well-worth seeing, esp. after The Ascent.


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