There are not enough Tom and Jerry cartoons in existence to compensate for the level of hopelessness represented in the Russian film Beanpole, which won its director/co-writer Kantemir Balagov the Un Certain Regard Best Director Prize at Cannes in 2019.

Two women are at the center of a story that takes place in the last days of World War II in Leningrad, where both the spirit of the city and its people are broken, becoming the very worst versions of themselves, and it takes a kind of heroism to just survive moment to moment each day. The portrayals of lead characters Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko) and Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina) are delivered in micro-levels of despair, apathy, and manic attempts to find inner hope, depending on the scene.

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