Biryuk is a Russian word which has another literal meaning, but also describes a strong and taciturn man who is usually something of a recluse, someone who behaves somewhat rudely. Director Roman Balayan is known for his literary adaptations. This impressionistic film, based on a cycle of stories by Turgenev, called "The Notes of a Hunter," has almost no dialogue and explores the ordinary daily rounds of Foma (Michael Golubovich), a forester and gamekeeper on a nobleman's estate. Neither an aristocrat nor one of the local peasants, Foma's job is to keep the local populace from taking advantage of the timber and wildlife on the estate. The situation isolates him from everyone, except his young daughter and infant son. A peaceable and compassionate man, he rarely punishes poachers, preferring to keep their damage to a bearable minimum rather than eliminating it altogether.
Clarke Fountain, www.allmovie.com