It's Russian. Pronounced "Ostrov". The title of the BEST foreign film I have seen in a long long time. Ever, actually.
I highly recommend this movie.
It starts out with the monk, in a desolated place, at the monastery of Ostrov, praying the Jesus Prayer. He falls down, and presumably dies.
Then a flash back, to 1942, during the Great Patriotic War (known to us as WWII). A young teenaged sailor in the navy who's job it is to stoke the coal furnaces of the ship is very frightened when Nazis come on board and commandeer the vessel. He looses his cool, pleads for his life, and is compelled by the Nazis to shoot his captain, who then falls overboard, in exchange for his life.
The cruel Nazis have plans to blow the ship up, and leave the young sailor to his fate. Instead of dying, though, he washes up on the shore at Ostrov, and the monks care for him.
Fast forward to 1976. Father Anatoly is a holy fool and a prankster. He is the one who was rescued by the monks all those years ago. He humbly stokes the furnace, just as he did on the boat. But his crazy antics also annoy some of the other monks.
This movie is a story about the human soul. It tells of forgiveness, repentance, human hearts and sin, and the confrontation of each of these with the Holy.
This movie is peppered heavily with Orthodox prayers and I would say offers a glimpse into Orthodox monastic spirituality, just as the movie "Into Great Silence" offers a glimpse into one style of Roman Catholic monasticism.
Like that movie, this one is breathtaking in it's scenery and cinematography. The landscape is stark, rendering the movie almost black and white, although it is in color.
Unlike "Into Great Silence" this movie is a bit earthy, just as Eastern Orthodox Christianity is. At the same time, it is important to note that this glimpse into Orthodox monasticism is more "universal" in the sense that Orthodoxy does not allow for different religious "orders". The monastic rule in Orthodoxy is simply the monastic rule and does not differ from place to place, so this film offers a broader peek than into one community.
One of my favorite lines, besides the beautiful and familiar prayers and psalms was when Fr. Anatoly said to one of the monks: "We are all sinners! Just go and try not to sin too much."
This film is definitely on my "to own" wish list.