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Unclenching the Fists(Разжимая кулаки)

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Russia · 2021
1h 37m
Director Kira Kovalenko
Starring Milana Aguzarova, Alik Karaev, Soslan Khugaev, Khetag Bibilov
Genre Drama

Ada, a young woman living with her father and younger brother in North Ossetia in Russia, hopes to leave her strict, overprotective family just as her older brother did, but finds that escaping is more complicated than she thought in this intense, realistic coming-of-age drama dealing with patriarchy and trauma.

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Variety by Guy Lodge

A frenzied vocal tone and wild, untethered physicality connects all the performances, with every character seemingly eager to burst out of their own body, and by extension, the life in which it’s stranded.


IndieWire by Ryan Lattanzio

Unclenching the Fists turns out to be hardly the neorealist dip into misery that some of the film’s more disconnected camerawork from DP Pavel Fomintsev promises.


TheWrap by Steve Pond

The film is a dark slice of neorealism with a palpable sense of claustrophobia that Ada feels in her life and in her family. But her relationship to what is essentially imprisonment is odd and complex; she seems desperate to get out and exercise some control of her life, but there are strange cracks in that desperation, signs that she’s terrified of what even a modicum of freedom and control might bring.

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