A Driver for Vera (Водитель для Веры) – Part 2/11

If you haven’t watched part 1, best to go there first: A Driver for Vera – Review and Discussion

Now, let’s continue our chat, focusing on part 2.

When Victor sees her pull a mickey out of her purse and take a drink, he’s clearly upset, maybe disappointed, maybe feels some sympathy for her, but probably nothing more than seeing a nice looking girl pull out a cigarette and start smoking, and you don’t like girls who smoke.

She very quickly establishes her character as a ‘bitch’, which he brushes off easily and casually. He’s far too easy going and content and happy to let much of anything bother him.  When she tells him, “Closer.”, he neatly pulls up to within an inch of the wheelbarrow, showing that he’s a good driver and confident in his abilities and perhaps a bit cocky.

Tough to stay exactly what he thinks and feels when he sees her walk to the house.  In the KinoKultura review he says: “All the more striking is the expression of surprise and disgust that appears on his face at the sight of Vera’s physical disability.  A crippling childhood illness has left Vera severely lame, able to walk only with great difficulty.  For young Viktor, and one might suspect for Pavel Chukhrai, beauty and its opposite are not simply surface attributes of the physical world.  They go to the core of human existence and inform our attitudes towards politics and morality, or, in this case, towards Russia and the contemporary course of Russian cinema.

I don’t think it was so much ‘disgust’ as surprise, along with a little “oh, gross”. It’s a natural reaction for everyone if they see something physically surprising and unattractive. Most people then get over the initial shock/surprise and then look past that to see the real person. I think most people, or at least I like to think most people look past physical appearances and see things as they really are.  Appearances are unfortunately very important in all societies.

Lida is still fully in her role of being the flirt. If you don’t believe it’s realistic, then you haven’t travelled to Ukraine, Indonesia, Hong Kong and other places.  It’s totally realistic.

Sure, Victor is then eavesdropping, but only because he was given a lamp to fix and he moves into the light to see what he’s doing.  He then leaves because he clearly feels uncomfortable listening in on their conversation.

The characters of Vera and the General, and their relationship with each other, then gets developed nicely. He clearly cares for his daughter, and you guess that he’s a single parent doing the best he can. He’s very traditional in his values and morals, naturally, but you sense that he’s fair and caring.  She’s the rebellious, angry daughter.

She then goes to her room feeling all the range of emotions that any girl would feel in her situation, and unplanned pregnancy is an all too common problem. Of course she’s not going to stab herself with the scissors, but she wants to, as most would, and many do go for the ‘back alley abortions’.

From Victor’s expression as they’re about to leave, you can clearly see the concern and interest he feels. He’s already seeing past the ‘bad things’, understanding where they’re coming from. His interest in her is renewed. He liked her from the moment he saw her, hit a little bump in the road, and is now back to his original feelings, and more.

In the car, chatting with the General, Victor replies that he plans to go to the Army Academy for top officers. That’s been his plan and ambition since long before he met the General and was transferred to work for him. Thus any future claims that he uses the situation for his own personal gain, aspiring to be an officer, are pretty hard to substantiate.   And he’s totally relaxed, cheerful and confident about everything. He’s certain that with time and hard work everything will work out.

You quickly get a feeling for who that bad guy is going to be when the General’s assistant asks Victor to report on everything that happens; what they say and do; including the General.  He’s not keen to do it, but he’s in no position to refuse.

In the scene with Vera and Lida, you get a quick sense that there’s already plenty of animosity between the two. Lida undoubtedly wishes she could be the daughter and not the maid.  She wants the finer things in life, naturally.

In the car, Victor is cheerful as always. No signs yet that he’s anything but a nice guy. And I never did find any signs to contradict that viewpoint. So for everyone who thinks otherwise, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

For more material to help you learn Russian (and learn English for Russian speakers) come visit our website: Learn Russian

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