When we first meet the two passengers in Juho Kuosmanen’s masterful COMPARTMENT NO. 6 (co-winner of the Cannes Grand Prix), they seem like unlikely friends. They’re divided by class, nationality, and language. Laura (Seidi Haarla), a Finnish grad student, has just said goodbye to her Russian lover Irina and boarded a train headed for Murmansk, a remote city in the Arctic circle, to see the rock drawings — supposedly a fitting, poetic conclusion to her time studying in Russia. The loutish Ljoha (Yuriy Borisov), who polishes off a large bottle of vodka the first night of the trip, is reporting for work at the massive mine in the region. As the journey drags on, cracks appear in the facades they present, and their vulnerabilities force them to recognize each other as far more complex than the fronts they present to the world — or what their own prejudices dictate.
New York Times Critic’s Pick: “Vulnerable women and dangerous men are clichés, but they’re also turned on their heads in this smart, emotionally nuanced film that rarely goes where you expect.” —Manohla Dargis, New York Times Variety Critic’s Pick: “With its crystal clear reclamation of that last gasp of analogue — before the digital revolution put a cellphone in every pocket and as a species we lost the ability to ever be truly alone — the humdrum and heartswelling COMPARTMENT NO. 6 evokes a powerful nostalgia for a type of loneliness we don’t really have any more, and for the type of love that was its cure.” —Jessica Kiang, Variety