Nine Days of One Year | Chicago Reader

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Mikhail Romm's 1961 box-office hit helped usher in not only the Soviet new wave but also the nuclear scientist as a new breed of national hero; unlike Stalin's workers and peasants, he's well educated, articulate, enamored of the West, and haunted by the consequences of his work. The brooding Giusev (Alexei Batalov) works in a secret Siberian lab, where he was exposed to radiation during an experiment, and Romm presents the critical days in his final year, pitting his idealism against the skepticism of a friendly rival (Innokenti Smoktunovsky) and a neurotic but caring wife. The soul-searching becomes ponderous and repetitive by the end, yet the film has merit as a portrait of the angst-ridden 60s and an expose of the cult of science. 110 min.

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