Cinematographic adaptation of classical Russian play "Dowry-less" by A. Ostrovsky. Noble but poor widow seeks to arrange marriage for her three daughters. She maintains "open house" or ... See full summary »
September of 1944, a few days before Finland went out of the Second World War. A chained to a rock Finnish sniper-kamikadze Veikko managed to set himself free. Ivan, a captain of the Soviet... See full summary »
Shurik Timofeev builds a working model of a time machine. By accident, Ivan Bunsha, an apartment complex manager, and George Miloslavsky, a petty burglar, are transferred to the 16th ... See full summary »
In this comic but dated story, nerdy Shurik travels to the Caucasus in search of native legends and folklore. But what he finds is a beautiful girl whom, due to intoxication and deceit of ... See full summary »
When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in his country house, Dr James Mortimer asks Sherlock Holmes for help to save Sir Henry Baskerville, the only known heir, from the curse that haunts Baskerville family.
Aboard a ship early in the 20th-century, a middle-aged Italian tells his story of love to a Russian. In a series of flashbacks filmed almost entirely in creams, whites, and ochers, the ... See full summary »
Russia, 1936: revolutionary hero Colonel Kotov is spending an idyllic summer in his dacha with his young wife and six-year-old daughter Nadia and other assorted family and friends. Things ... See full summary »
Old Prof. Preobrazhensky and his young colleague Dr. Bormental inserted the human's hypophysis into a dog's brain. Couple of weeks later the dog became "human looking". The main question is... See full summary »
The 1975 film by Georgi Daneliya "Afonya" was an unexpected commercial hit in USSR. The main character Borshev A.N. is a locksmith who spends his free time, as well as working hours, ... See full summary »
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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