A loose remake of 12 Angry Men (1957), set in a Russian school in the war-torn republic of Chechnya. 12 jurors are struggling to decide the fate of a Chechen teenager (Apti Magamaev) who allegedly killed his Russian stepfather. The jurors: a racist taxi-driver, a suspicious doctor, a vacillating TV producer, a Holocaust survivor, a flamboyant musician, a cemetery manager, and others represent the fragmented society of modern day Russia. Amidst the battle between Chechens and Russians outside, a stray bird (a touch of New Age cinema) is flying above the jurors heads, alluding to tolerance. Written by Steve Shelokhonov
The movie received mixed critical opinion in Russia and abroad. The Venice Film Festival Jury defined the movie as “confirmation of his [Mikhalkov’s] mastery in exploring and revealing to us, with great humanity and emotion, the complexity of existence”. Russian President Vladimir Putin together with the film crew, Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov and Ingushetia’s President Murat Zyazikov watched the film in Putin’s residence in Novo-Ogarevo. After the screening Putin remarked, that the film “brought a tear to the eye”.
Nominated for Golden Lion 2oo7 award.