The Last Page

The Last Page


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Once upon a time, long before the stars of this film were born, there were certain rules that shaped the production of children's films, and this sugary short follows them almost to the letter. If its characters weren't speaking Russian one might almost take it for a late Seventies Disney production, complete with bright colours, swirling soundtrack, picture postcard settings full of snowy streets, and a little blond-haired moppet at its centre. The difference is that this moppet (Lisa Bondarik) can act. What's more, her Macha is a formidable character whose love of pretty things and ballerinas doesn't mean she's ready to let her brother or the local bullies push her around.

Macha's brother is a terror, the sort many viewers will remember with dread. His room is lined with toy soldies and tanks and he delights in beating up Macha's dolls. Her retaliation includes the repeated insistence that soldiers are stupid and deserve to suffer, but perhaps, in taking this approach, she is cutting herself off from stories she might enjoy. When a book she has stolen from her brother's room turns out to have a issing last page, Macha must dream the ending. It's a story that might just bring a ballerina and a soldier together, changing how she sees the world.

The use of ballet and ice dance in this film give it a distinctive Russian sensibility but will make it a firm favourite with little girls of a certain kind no matter where they might be. It's beautifully shot, with elegant set design, and the dance scenes are neatly interwoven with the rest so as to engage the general viewer. What really makes it, though, are the performances. Both the mother and the brother work well but it's Bondarik who is the scene stealer, utterly believable yet possessed of a rare forcefulness. She will scare viewers who had mean big sisters, without ever losing audience sympathy. She's a real find.

Though it will simply be too saccharine for some, The Last Page is a sweet treat that many kids will want to watch again and again.

Reviewed on: 23 Mar 2013
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As the last page of The Steadfast Tin Soldier is missing, a little girl has to dream its ending.

Director: Marc Roumi

Starring: Lisa Bondarik, Alica Avchinnik, Edward Ivanovski

Year: 2012

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: Lebanon


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