Children of the Revolution [Import]
Australia's most consistently fascinating export, Judy Davis has made a career of playing intriguingly high-strung women with a hilariously icy edge. Here, she plays the leader of Australia's Communist Party in the early 1950s whose struggles to keep the party alive are rewarded with a trip to Russia to meet Stalin himself (F. Murray Abraham). The meeting turns into a seduction, and she returns to Australia carrying Stalin's love child. So it's no surprise when her son Joe (Richard Roxburgh) grows up to be a political rabble-rouser, bringing the country to the brink of disaster. Filmed in mockumentary fashion by writer-director Peter Duncan, the film is never quite as funny as you wish it would be, but works as well as it does because of the performances by Rush and, particularly, Davis. --Marshall Fine
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Run Time: 121 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1
Languages: English or Spanish dubbed
Synopsis: A blindly idealistic Australian Communist believes so fervently in the Revolution that she writes weekly love letters to Joseph Stalin, conceives his child (or so she believes), and raises a son in the tradition of iron-fisted tyranny. A scathing, idiosyncratic satire of ideological zealotry in general, comprising straight narrative, newsreels and archival footage, and farcical comedy.
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Children of the Revolution is a brilliant film, and Leninists and true Communists can plainly see this.
The beginning and middle of the movie are deft blends of socio-political satire and personal drama, laughter and emotion. It's too bad that in the second half of Act 2 it takes a turn for melodrama. Given the calibre of the acting, it works (Griffiths plays especially nicely against Davis, and Rush -- his character increasingly isolated in the story -- is bewitching), but I wish there could've been more of a mix of the comic and the tragic near the end of the movie. The comedy wasn't so much forgotten (the "Ronald McDonald" bit, and the last interview with "Joe Welch" still hit the funny bone) as underweighted in the final parts of the story. The film deserves credit, nonetheless, for even aiming towards this complicated mix in the first place and succeeding 90% of the time. And the setups and subplots are brilliant -- Anna's Latvian background weaving into the Dave-Joan relationship; Welch's jealousy of Stalin; Joe's eventual megalomania; the cellmate and future assassin; even the final hilarious reveal about Anna and Dave was set up.
A small but bright gem, not easy to discover (the eye-popping video cover helped), but well worth the hunt.