Ostrov is a 2006 Russian movie (112 min., English title “The Island”), directed by Pavel Lungin, written by Dmitri Sobolev. Aesthetically resembling (schematically) a somewhat faster Tarkovsky, Ostrov is a movie of hard work yet seemingly simple, which shows maturity. It can be watched as a modern Vita (Life) of a saint. The movie became instantly popular in Russia, which also confirms Orthodoxy as a social factor despite the various falls of the Russian society.
In Ostrov one has also a chance to understand differences between real faith and the quasi-religious artificial new age dreams. Here man is conscious of his sin and fall, as he is conscious of the existence and identity of God, without even losing his familiarity with Him. Their relationship is real and fruitful. People are tried, their suffer is real and is healed by this relationship, reflected also in human relations.
Many people in the West also appreciated the power of this movie. Here are excerps from imdb reviews.
“Everything is great about this movie. The story is really short to get you into the mood in the orgasmic kind of way, and it will keep you at the edge of your sit to the very last second. Beautiful actors. The film is shot in beautiful widescreen – an absolutely breathtaking cinematography. The only thing bad about this movie is that it is too short!!!! Don’t get me wrong, it is a full-length film, but it’s ended just a couple of hours earlier than I expected. Just watch it! You will not regret it.”
“This movie is absolutely great. Greatly filmed, greatly directed, greatly acted. But thats nothing to what hides behind all the image, where this movie becomes a masterpiece. Its about a life of a man, who made a sin, and all his life have been asking god to forgive him for his sin. In his praying he have got a power to help other people to get rid of their sins.”
“I believe that “Ostrov” (the Island) is among the great pieces of world and Russian cinema somewhere close to Bergman and Tarkovsky. For Russia – it is an important and timely message. For those who want to know more of “the mysterious Russian [indeed, the Orthodox] soul” – it is an excellent description. I’ve hardly seen a better one. For all taking the spiritual development seriously – the film will also be useful no matter what is their religion. People say that they are becoming better and cleaner after watching the film. Those who are used to a lot of action on the screen would require to concentrate. It is more a meditation rather than a blockbuster. Strongly recommend to watch.”
“This movie is a cry for God, for repentance, for continuous prayer, for simplicity and humbleness, especially now in a Babylonian “unified” world where “political correctness” is more important than anything spiritual that might turn man to God. We know how to say “I’m sorry” in many sophisticated and intellectual ways but we don’t feel it. We are cold. A movie that has the power to save our souls. From the same realm, the last excellent film I saw was Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. You don’t need 10 lines of text to summarize this movie…. one word that defines perfectly this masterpiece is “prayer”!”