GenreDrama Music directorEduard Artemyev WriterPavel Chukhray LanguageRussian
Release dateRussia: 27 July 2004
Ukraine: 12 August 2004
France: 9 November 2004 Initial releaseJuly 27, 2004 (Russia, Saint Petersburg) CastIgor Petrenko (Viktor), Elena Babenko (Vera), Bogdan Stupka (General Serov), Andrei Panin (Adjutant Saveliev), Marina Golub (Zinaida), Valeriy Barinov (General Klimenko) Similar moviesPavel Chukhray directed A Driver for Vera and The Thief
A Driver for Vera (Russian: Водитель для Веры, Voditel dlya Very) is a Ukrainian-Russian co-produced psychological drama film from 2004, set in 1962 Sevastopol, Ukraine, directed and written by Russian Pavel Chukhrai. The film won numerous Russian awards including Best Film at the Sochi Film Festival. The film's two-country origin resulted in the film being rejected as Ukraine's entry for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category for 2005, due to a rule which states, "[T]he submitting country must certify that creative talent of that country exercised artistic control of the film."
The film is set during the Khrushchev Thaw in Soviet Crimea, Ukraine, and concentrates on a young cadet in the Red Army named Viktor (Igor Petrenko), who becomes a chauffeur for a general (Bohdan Stupka) and begins a relationship with the general's disabled and volatile daughter, Vera (Alena Babenko). Viktor becomes involuntarily involved in a plot by the KGB whereby KGB agent Saveliev (Andrei Panin) pushes Viktor to spy on the general for KGB purposes. As the action develops around Viktor's relationship with Vera and his conflicted reasons for pursuing it, contrasted with the raw sexual tension between Viktor and the maid, Lida (Yekaterina Yudina) and her scathing attack on his motives rel Vera, the KGB, using Agent Saveliev, plots to take down and ultimately kill the general. Nobody is safe.
The film won at least seven awards and has earned a rating of 7.1 out of 10 from 979 users of the Internet Movie Database. From Rotten Tomatoes, the film has earned a "liked it" rating of 79 percent based on 155 user ratings. After acknowledging the film's numerous Russian awards, movie critic Ronnie Scheib nevertheless panned the film in entertainment magazine Variety opining, for example, "[The] pic[ture]'s oddly disjointed wedding of operatic emotionalism and cool aesthetic distance may prove more off-putting than enthralling."