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Deep, Sad, Spiritual film about one man's incredible sadness
Georgi Daneliya, a brilliant director (I Step Through Moscow, Autumn Marathon, Kin-Dza-Dza). This film is spiritual, deeply.
Like a lot of Daneliya's films, this one has a sub-title which is a "Sad Fairytale". But aside from that this film is about a normal man's life, who has a pretty boring job in city planning (tearing down and planning building projects), a supportive wife, a son who lives with them with his wife and daughter.
The film starts with a narration of fairytale about an evil inventor who made a mirror, "in which everything that was kind and good disappeared, and everything that was bad and obscene was reflected and seemed even worse". The students of the evil professor did a lot of evil with the mirror and finally tried to get it up to heaven, but the mirror fell and shattered into millions of tiny pieces. The person in whose eye fell a piece of the mirror began to see in everything foolishness, and life for him became unbearable". That is my shot at a literal translation, being Russian. Credits roll and then our journey begins.
We pick up the story on our main character's bus ride home. He sits alone, looking content, trying to pass the time. Then, something seems to get in his eye, because he rubs it and then closes the buses window. Something changes about him. He looks around and feels a strange disgust in the bus filled with quiet strangers also trying to get home and minding their own business. Pavel-Ivanovich is so disgusted that he gets off the bus several stops before his home and walks, arriving at dark. From here his story begins, and we go along for his sad ride. From that evening on he sees only sadness and wrong in everything. He can't respond to kindness, and scolds those closest to him. He offends everyone. At his work he tries to go against as many people as possible, and hurt ordinary citizens too. He also feels that everyone is against him. His condition seems to worsen. How will all this end. Sure this can't be the end for Pavel-Ivanovich, a good man somewhere deep inside.
The brilliance of this film lies in the main character's deep state of mind. His suffering. The fact that he hurts everyone around him, feels horrible about it but still does it until he almost loses everything. If you like film's where you feel that you can relate or feel the character's emotions, you might like this film. An incredible pressure is built up throughout the film, and the last scene, for me at least, magically lifts it, if only for a couple of seconds.
This is a strange film, and I don't say that a lot. It is very hard to describe, but the main elements that drive the feel of this film are the main character's state of mind and the music (more than half of the film has incredible original music playing in the background). Daneliya's films have incredible music like in Autumn Marathon, Kin-Dza-Dza, and Thirty-Three. Daneliyaa was into jazz and played drums in a band way back before he started making film so his films are very rich in music. Also this film is sad, but is also a comedy. All these elements mix to make an incredible movie. 10/10
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