Director: Larisa Shepitko
Year Released: 1966
A former pilot (a stern, threatening Maya Bulgakova) in the Russian Air Force can't adjust to 'normal life' as a 'citizen's deputy' in a school or as a parent, so like former jocks who repeatedly revisit past glory in their humdrum adult lives (paging Al Bundy), she (unhealthily) revisits former glory in her own mind. I'm actually guessing this is a common problem among many who achieved early success in athletics or maybe had some fond memories of camaraderie in, say, the military and maybe as a frat brother/sorority sister in college so unlike some critics' accusations, I don't believe Shepitko's in any way disparaging former military personnel or mocking her lead character - in fact, I'd argue that the concept is quite intriguing. But she can, however, be faulted for making this so frigid - her main character is so unexpressive she doesn't register the conflict internally (despite the plot's insistence) thereby muting the impact of her transcendent final flight and the picture as a whole. Based on personal experience, people in the military do quite well in the areas of education and law enforcement that require personal discipline and order, so there is a temptation to argue that the Stalin-Hugging jet fighter needs some kind of personal therapy (which was most likely unavailable in the late 60's Soviet Union).