My university professor planned a get-together in her local mini cinema/cafe in Zushi (near Kamakura, one of the two cities in Japan that house ginormous Buddha) last weekend. Properly as a professor of Russian literature (and of course in relation to the tragic event of last year in Fukushima) she passionately organized a cinema viewing for her crowd, and chose Nine Days in One Year (Девять дней одного года) by Mikhail Romm. Shot in 1961, this film depicts issues surrounding development of nuclear science poignantly and in places comically through a drama involving three scientists at a nuclear research institute.
My professor is a very unique, and eminent figure in the Russian circle particularly with those in literature and poetry. A close long-standing friend of the late Bulat Okudzhava, Bella Akhmadulina, and many more… she was the first Japanese student at Moscow University (officially invited by then-Soviet Russia’s president Nikita Khrushchev!), where she made acquaintance with these people, and grew an immense affinity with Russia, its culture and people. Meeting her is always a breath of fresh air, giving me something new, surprising snap of her life, most of which is Russia-related, and stirring my now-long-dormant passion for this spectacular country.
This film no doubt stimulated in many viewers there some thoughts, sensations, and delight at its beautifully shot story. I am sure reactions to the film would be diverse, and for me it was about the value people recognise in what we call “life” – well, not only a human life, but I think it was more generally conceptual life per se vis-a-vis human ego and intelligence.
If only I could enjoy it without having to marvel what a wonderful job they did with the subtitles…