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Kira Kovalenko Unclenching the Fists

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021: #58. Kira Kovalenko’s Unclenching the Fists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2021: #58. Kira Kovalenko’s Unclenching the Fists

Unclenching the Fists

Russian director Kira Kovalenko promises to be a breakout talent with her sophomore film Unclenching the Fists in 2021. Produced by Alexander Rodnyansky, responsible for Zvyagintsev’s Elena, Leviathan and Loveless as well as ushering Kantemir Balagov’s Closeness and Beanpole into fruition, the film stars Milana Aguzarova, Alik Karaev, Soslan Khugaev, and Khetag Bibilov. Kovalenko’s 2016 debut Sofichka premiered in the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

Gist: Following traumatic events, Zaur moves his three children, two sons and one daughter, to the small mining town of Mizur, nestled in between the mountains of North Ossetia. Their move has solidified Zaur’s overprotection of his children, which eventually suffocates them. While his eldest moves to Rostov for work the first chance he gets, his daughter Ada plans her own escape. Despite being an adult, her father remains a controlling presence, but the return of her brother forces a reckoning with the trauma that’s shaped them all.

Release Date/Prediction: Currently in post-production, we expect Kovalenko to be a contender at Cannes 2021, potentially in Un Certain Regard. Wild Bunch are repping the title.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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