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Film / The Girl and the Echo

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The Girl and the Echo ("Девочка и Эхо", "Devochka i Ekho"), also known as Paskutine Atostogu Diena ("Last Day of Holidays") is a Russian movie by the famous director A. Zherbjunas (who later went on to create such classics as "Let's wait till monday"), based on the short story The Echo by J. Nagibin.

The story revolves around Vika, a dreamy girl on vacation (hence the other title) who loves the sea, mountains and echoes, and does not want to fit in with local kids, and Romas, a boy also on vacation, who does want to fit in, but cannot. The boy becomes her confidant and their friendship blossoms, but then she is harassed by bullies and the boy doesn't muster up courage to stand to her, which ruins their relationship forever.

The film achieved a Cult Classic status in USSR and was a "Blockbuster" - despite nearly being shelved and receiving little advertising, even by Soviet standards.

This story provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: When Vika meets Romas for the second time, she is naked from her Skinny Dipping, and he is sitting on her panties.
  • Adaptation Distillation: the adaptation is much more condensed, touching and thought-inducing than the book. It makes Vika's charachter stronger, and thus the contrast between her and Romas also grows much deeper.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Viktorina instead of Vitalina as a full name, and most important, Vika instead of Vitka as the name the girl prefers.
  • An Aesop: "Mountains answer only to honorable and honest." Taken from the book.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The girl stands up to bullies, quickly recovers from her plight and seems stronger than before. But this doesn't change the fact that she is much less innocent now. And the boy is now left alone, abandoned by her and the other boys and morally devastated.
  • Collector of the Strange: Vika collects echoes and strange phone numbers. Romas "collects" cars of unusual models.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • The Corruptible: Romas.
  • Defeat by Modesty: invoked and subverted. The bullies try to do this with Vika, but are shamed into stopping the harassment instead.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Vika, who is barefoot throughout the story, except the very end when she is leaving.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: the whole film takes just one day, just as the alternate title implies.
  • Film of the Book
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Vika does forgive the young narrator, but she doesn't trust him anymore. Also, unlike in the book, Vika subtly reminds Romas that he, and only he, failed at the beach.
  • Free-Range Children: Both Vika and Romas. The spend the whole day without adult supervision, and this includes swimming in a sea, wandering alone and climbing mountains - without bothering to tell anyone where they are, of course. Even for that period, climbing mountains alone was a biggie.
  • Heel Realisation: Romas, and arguably the bullies.
  • Heroic BSoD: Vika's behaviour after her harassment shows signs of this. However, here it happens after she resolved the situation, and she quickly snaps out of it.
  • Hypocrite: the bullies. They also admit to skinny dip sometimes, but consider Vika doing so a valid reason for harassment.
  • Innocence Lost: both Vika and Romas, though in a different way.
  • Kick the Dog: The bullies, towards Vika.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The bullies, at least.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: the protagonists' betrayal of Vika backfires on him completely.
  • Moral Guardians: were in arms because of that film, seeing Vika as nothing mora that Shameless Fanservice Girl. Not to mention An Aesop about how fitting to collective isn't always good was absolutely unwelcome in a Soviet film.
  • Naked People Are Funny: subverted / deconstructed. Surely it is funny to pick on somebody who is naked, but the naked person definitely has no fun in it.
  • Not His Sled: Vika not succumbing to Break the Cutie.
  • The Noun and the Noun
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: The reason Romas betrayed Vika is his wish to fit in with the locals, not simply fear.
  • Perspective Flip: told mostly from Vika's perspective. The book was from boy's perspective.
  • Plucky Girl: Vika
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Romas' reaction to Vika's nakedness. A constant source of subtle irritation between Romas and Vika.
  • Retirony: in a non-lethal sence. Vika's antics never got her in trouble during vacation, until the very last day.
  • The Reveal: the echo's secret. Vika does share it with Romas as her final gift.
  • Sadistic Choice: for Romas of whether to help Vika or side with the bullies. And possibly for Vika, who probably could abandon her clothing and swim away, but chose not to.
  • Scenery Censor: the bullies see Vika fully naked. The viewers obviously don't. (Moral Guardians were still upset)
  • Shaming the Mob: Vika coming out of water. Instead of Defeat by Modesty, she makes the bullies ashamed of themselves.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Vika can be very... intimidating if she is angry.
  • Skinny Dipping: Vika does this all the time. Ultimately, this brings her in trouble when the bullies start harassing her because of this.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: During Vika's Trauma Conga Line, the music plays "Yakety Sax" to convey how the bulles see the whole thing. When Vika comes out, the music rapidly stops - mirroring the mood change.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Vika's harassment.