"Beanpole" is a 2019 Russian historical drama film directed by Kantemir Balagov. Set in post-World War II Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg, the film explores the aftermath of war and its impacts on the human psyche, relationships, and the struggle for survival.
The story centers on two young women, Iya Sergueeva, nicknamed "Beanpole" for her tall, thin frame, and Masha, both trying to rebuild their lives after serving in the anti-aircraft military during the war. Iya, who works as a nurse in a hospital for wounded soldiers, suffers from post-concussion syndrome which causes temporary freezes in her behavior. Masha, on the other hand, is determined to build a family to give her life purpose, leading to a complex relationship between the two women marked by guilt, desperation, and co-dependency.
"Beanpole" is renowned for its stark and harrowing portrayal of war's aftermath, impressive performances, and remarkable production design. The film's atmospheric, sometimes harsh visuals serve to underscore the bleakness of its post-war setting.
The film received critical acclaim worldwide, with Balagov winning the Un Certain Regard Best Director Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It was also selected as the Russian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.