frantsuzRussian directors never disappointed me when it comes to directing a good coming of age drama. Galina Daneliya-Yurkova left her distinctive mark on Frantsuz – creating a real cinematic experience for its viewers .

Frantsuz is one of those films I have heard a lot before I got a chance to watch it.  The film is an adaptation of the novel ” Waiting for a Goat ” (  “V ozhidanii kozy“) written by Yevgeni Dubrovin – one of the best novelist in the Russian literature. The story is set in the post military town in the  Soviet Union. Victor ,12 and Vlad ,7 are two free-spirited brothers who live alone with their mother.  The father has been gone for many year and they have been told by their mother that died at the front defending their homeland .  He has been described by her as “a very strong man with an iron character who worked as blacksmiths”

One night  their father shows up. In turns out that he had been imprisoned in France during the war. He immediately starts his efforts to establish his fatherly authority seeing that his sons have are being spoiled by their mother –  the boys  however earnestly counterbalance them. It comes to no surprise as his views of responsibility and discipline involves frequent whippings – he wants to make them hard – working and responsible – but Vlad and Victor and not too happy with the new arrangements :

” Forced labor, – I said – are widely used in ancient Romans and Greeks. It was called slavery. But in the future of humanity knowingly waive it, as slave labor was a non – relatively difficult to free man.
The phrase turned out to be very beautiful. My father even stopped to eat.
Well enough! – Father slapped a hand across the table. – Maybe so, but you should listen to your parents “


The brothers get a supporter in the face of their uncle who also returns from captivity . He convinces a Jewsih chemist who liked his sister to make her a proposal  for marriage  even if its known that her husband is alive and is at home .

Frantsuz is a movie that can teach its viewers a lot of things .  As you watch it you will gain the understanding that The relationship of children and parents should be built on the principles of equality and mutual respect.

Frantsuz fatherThe acting in the film was good – and aside the its too young protagonists Yuri Zvyagintsev and Aleksandr Biryukov I really enjoyed the performance of  Sergei Shakurov in the role of the father. He was very convincible in the role of strict father which almost made me want to join the pact of the boys ( myself being spoiled as well ) .

Frantsuz like many other Russian films from that time was a slightly military themed – which only made it more enjoyable to watch. Similar movie is the The Return ( original name Vozvrashcheniye) which can be summarized as ” The plot seems simple at first- two boys meet their father for a first time after 12 years absence ” – if interested you can read its review which I wrote about a year ago at . Both films get a high recommendation by me and I would be thankful if you share your views on them in the comments below !

The book “V ozhidanii kozy” is available for free at



dvdThis review would have not be possible without the valuable support of CVMC : The oldest movie rental service on the Internet — since 1998. Specializing in hard to find & rare films from around the world. I would like to thank them for supporting by providing the DVD of Frantsuz . Check out the film`s page site at the


  1. While reading the review for Frantsuz I was immediately thinking about The Return (Vozvrashcheniye) maybe because I haven't watch to many russian COA films. I really like the review and since I like The Return, Frantsuz will be on my must watch list.

  2. My first thoughts went to the Russian coming of age film “The return” as you also mention in the end of your review. Both films deal with the relationship between fathers and sons, with the father playing the role of the family´s authority, trying to raise his sons by fear and violence instead of love. Another film with a similar theme is the Spanish film “El bola”. Your review got me interested in watching this film “Frantsuz” in the near future!



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