Three Days And Never Again

Alexandre I. Goutman

Russia 1998, 53 min.

His crime: shooting his commanding officer in the army – most likely because the man was trying to rape him. Sasha’s mother goes to visit him in prison. It is their first meeting in 8 years. They have three days together in a cell provided by the prison, and after that they will most likely never meet again, as the mother cannot afford to travel to the prison, which is located far away from where she lives. Three Days and Never Again is the documentary Alexandre Goutman made about the three days mother and son spend together.

The film doesn’t investigate the case further, nor does it describe the conditions in the Soviet army that probably could drive a sensitive young man to desperate actions (a law has just been passed which gives amnesty to deserters, recognising the terrible conditions which caused them to flee). But by focusing on the meeting with his mother, Goutman portrays Sasha as anything but a criminal. He turns out to be a caring, sympathetic, sensitive, intelligent young man, doing his best to comfort his unhappy mother. The film certainly leaves the viewer convinced that the penalty is far too harsh, and that Sasha’s destiny is a human tragedy that accidentally befell this family. Resigned to his fate, Sasha says this about his crime: “It was a fatal combination of circumstances, but I killed him anyway.”

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