"If he has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment-as well as the prison." (Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment)
The Island is 2006 best Russian film. It is a biographical film on the life of a 20th
century monk who lived in an Eastern Orthodox monastery.
Plot Summary: During World War II, the sailor Anatoly and his captain, Tikhon, are captured by the Nazis when they board their barge and tugboat which is carrying a shipment of coal. The Nazi officer leading the raid offers Anatoly the choice to shoot Tikhon and stay alive which Anatoly reluctantly takes, and Tikhon falls overboard. The Nazis blow up the ship but Anatoly is found by Russian Orthodox monks on the shore the next morning. He survives and becomes a stoker at the monastery but is perpetually overcome with guilt.
Thirty years pass. Anatoly now has the gift of clairvoyance and healing. But the other monks do not really understand him. People come to see Anatoly for cures and guidance, but even now, he remains in a perpetual state of repentance. He often gets in a boat and goes to an uninhabited island where he prays for mercy and forgiveness.
A prominent admiral arrives to see Anatoly with his daughter. The daughter is possessed by demons but Anatoly exorcises them. The admiral turns out to be Tikhon. It is revealed that Anatoly only wounded him during the war. Tikhon forgives Anatoly.
Anatoly announces a death by Wednesday; the monks provide a coffin. Dressed in a white garment such as Jesus wore, he lies in the coffin, wearing a crucifix. Monks, one carrying a large cross representing the risen Christ, are seen rowing the coffin away from the island. (from Wikipedia)
Monk Anatoly is self-awareness is great that he doesn't regard him as being clever or spiritual, but blessed "in the sense that he is an exposed nerve, which connects to the pains of this world. His absolute power is a reaction to the pain of those people who come to it;" while "typically, when the miracle happens, the lay people asking for a miracle are always dissatisfied" because "the world does not tolerate domestic miracles."(by the director Pavel Lungin) There is also something interesting about Pyotr Mamonov who played the character of Monk Anatoly. He was formerly one of the few rock musicians in the USSR, later he got converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in the 1990s and lives now in an isolated village. Pavel Lungin said about him that "to a large extent, he played himself" in the film.
"Go at once, this very minute, stand at the cross-roads, bow down, first kiss the earth which you have defiled, and then bow down to all the world and say to all men aloud, 'I am a murderer!' Then God will send you life again. Will you go, will you go?" (Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment)
“The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.” (Thomas Merton)