Originally conceived as both a stage and film production, it was filmed during its seven-week rehearsal period as a play. The theatre opening never took place, so the film version is all that's left. See more »
I was blown away by this film! The title means "Without Witnesses" The action takes place all in one night, within a few hours. Almost perfectly shot, entirely inside an apartment with just two actors. I wasn't a big Mihalkov fan, my favorite film of his was "Anna: From Six Till Eighteen ", which is a documentary. His other films I always thought were either too unrealistic, goofy or historical pieces. This however, is a story that takes place in then-present day. The look of the film is absolutely beautiful, the colors and art design is gorgeous. The script is perfect. A woman sits alone watching a concert on TV when her ex-husband sneaks quietly in and scares her half to death by blowing a whistle on his keys. They then spend some hours of that night together. At first we don't think anything is up, but a deep complex story unrolls before us little by little, one that the characters are already fully aware of, but not us, we must take every single of their words as clues to what they have been through. This movie is at that level of pure genius that is completely the director's own brilliant vision. This film could not be made in the US now, it is completely unorthodox, but here it is alive, beautiful, perfect. The perfect form has been found for it. It is a funny film but then it is every sad film too. This is now one of my fave films and I now appreciate Nikita Mihalkov waaay more than I did before, I now call myself a fan. I am about to watch "Rodnya" by him, which looks similar, another modern-day story. Another film I like of his because of these same traits is "Five Evenings". The acting is perfect. The woman, Irina Kupchenko I found so beautiful and so sad; there is an American actress that looks exactly like her, but I don't know her name or what movies she was in. Ulyanov is brilliant as always, this and "Tema" by Gleb Panfilov are my favorite of his performances, the characters are so original and brilliantly portrayed.
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