The Meaning of Scarecrow (1984)

Based on the story of the same name, the film caused a wide public outcry in the 80s due to a similar display of Soviet children. Loud discussions developed in society and the media: some condemned the film for vilifying the honor of Soviet children, but others, on the contrary, respected the film for its audacity and praised director Rolan Bykov for such an accurate depiction of Soviet reality.

The plot of the film tells about a girl named Lena Bessoltseva, who recently moved to a new school. She lives with her grandfather, who collects paintings and runs a small gallery in his own house. The heroine immediately begins to dislike, as her grandfather is considered eccentric. The poor old man is called by the locals “the patcher” because he walks around in the same coat for so long that it has completely turned into old rags.

The girl tries to remain optimistic and not answer her offenders when they tease her. On the advice of her grandfather, she smiles back at everyone and does not lose heart. Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect and provokes even more mockery. Only one boy, Dima Somov, does not mock Lena, which is why he soon even becomes close to her and begins to make friends. The guys give the newcomer the nickname Scarecrow, but she does not even take offense at this.

One day, a situation occurs that destroys the friendship between Dima and Lena. All the children decide to run away from the lesson and go to the cinema instead to reward themselves for their hard work (the children worked hard and put off a trip to the capital for a long time). It turns out that Somov forgot the jar of money, and Bessoltseva volunteers to go after her, but stumbles and falls along the way. Dima runs after the piggy bank, but the teacher catches him in the classroom and demands to tell where all the guys have gone. Somov tries to resist, but in the end betrays his comrades, for which they are all punished and their long-awaited trip to Moscow is cancelled. Witnesses of this act are Lena and her two classmates, who all the time were hiding under a desk in the classroom – Shmakova and Popov.

The guys who dreamed about this trip decide to punish the traitor. Dima is a coward and does not dare to confess his wrongdoing, so Lena takes all the blame on herself, for which she is put forward by a general boycott. The girl finally becomes an outcast of the class. Classmates no longer hold back their dislike for Bessoltseva: they bully the girl, humiliate her, beat her. Lena sincerely believes that Somov will find the courage to confess to everyone what he has done, but he is a coward. He is so cowardly that he soon joins Lena’s persecution and humiliation, as he is afraid to be in the place of a new one. Everything comes to the point that the girl’s dress is even stolen and set on fire, having previously hung it on a makeshift stuffed animal.

The next day, the heroine cuts off all her hair and comes to Somov’s birthday party, where she answers her offenders. The guys doubt her betrayal, and Popov, one of the eyewitnesses, nevertheless betrays Somov, and all the children declare a boycott on him. Lena alone does not agree to join the bullying, despite Somov’s recent betrayal.

The picture ends with the fact that Lena and grandfather leave the city, and he leaves his house with paintings and bequeaths it to the inhabitants as a museum. The picture ends with an inscription on the school board: “Scarecrow, forgive us!”

This film has an incredibly deep meaning, which can be traced from the very first scenes. He raises a lot of important and acute social problems, but we will analyze the most striking and basic ones.

The picture demonstrates the cruelty that children are sometimes capable of. In Soviet times, people were especially convinced of the innocence and purity of children, but this film certainly opened many eyes and showed that, unfortunately, not all teenagers behave with their peers in the same way as with adults.

The film also raises the serious problem of society’s rejection of those who are not like the rest. Lena was not a bad person, like her grandfather, but they were disliked solely because they were different. They were calm, quiet and unsociable, but those around them undeservedly considered them eccentrics.

Also, the theme of collective responsibility and cowardice is embodied in the hero of Dima Somov. He was afraid to stand up for his girlfriend, which is why he doomed her to cruel bullying. She did not deserve this, but he was simply afraid of public condemnation, contempt and boycott, so he framed the innocent Lena.

An equally important message of the film is that sometimes the weak-looking people are the most resilient inside. Lena refused to be a typical victim and, despite the mockery and unfair cruelty shown to her, did not change her principles and did not even take revenge on her “friend”, who betrayed her at an important moment. She retained her purity and did not stoop to the level of her offenders.

The finale of the picture is especially touching, as it proves the transformation of Lena’s classmates. They, realizing their mistake, sincerely apologize to Lena and finally realize that she and her grandfather, despite their dissimilarity to the others, are very good and kind people. With her example of perseverance and courage, Lena transformed the guys and proved them wrong.

The film Scarecrow is very touching and can be recommended for viewing by people of any age, as the morality raised in it will never become obsolete.

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