A week before leaving for Cannes I streamed Kantemir Balakov‘s Closeness (’17), a dark kidnapping drama set in a sodden Russian backwater. The idea was to prepare for Balakov’s Beanpole, a psychological survival tale set in Leningrad just after the ravages of World War II. I saw it early this morning. It’s just as grim if not grimmer than Closeness, but it’s also more ambitious in an atmospheric, large-canvas sense. And a whole lot sadder.