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Letter Never Sent (1960)
#1

This will probably die on the vine, but what the hell...

I got a two-month free trial to Hulu Plus, so I thought I would spend the next 60 days plowing through as many Criterion titles as possible. This film was made by Mikhail Kalatozov, who also did I Am Cuba, and both films share breathtaking directorial technique and cinematography. Letter Never Sent is about a group of four geologists looking for diamonds in Siberia, and are forced to endure harsh conditions, forest fires, and the awful Siberian winter.

I didn't really notice a lot of political subtext in this one; it's more of a straightforward adventure, with a story that could have been told within the Hollywood studio system. The difference is Kalatozov's ecstatic, expressive camera, which elevates the material into something more poetic and moving. If you have Hulu Plus, add it to your queue, I think you'll enjoy it.

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