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ASSA is set in Crimea during the winter in the mid eighties. A young musician (Bananan) falls for mobster's (Krymov) young mistress (Alika). The parallel story line involves an 18th century assassination plot. Written by
Andrew Obin <email@example.com>
Love triangle -- and still, Solovyov turns the lost plot into a winning one. Govorukhin and Drubich are first-rate.
When I think of this now, 12 years after I saw this movie for the first time, I can probably compare it somehow with "Fargo". The same gloomy colors, the same snow everywhere, the same slow motion of people dozing in winter like bears. The same sad realism in all the scenes, including the car chases, the same end. And also -- and this is the most amazing of it all, in my opinion -- the same feeling of light you experience at the end, despite the end which can hardly be called happy.
This film also has a winning mixture of criminal plot and love triangle. (Remember "Heat"?). A young girl is waiting for her lover in the snowy Yalta, and he comes one night too late because of the storm -- and in this one night she meets a young musician who offers her to spend the night in his apartment. (Mind you, this is a Soviet film -- there are no sex scenes at all in the movie, but the simplest gestures become erotic as they are real, as we all have been in those situations of late teens who just discover each other). Her lover is an underworld tycoon who manages to plan some more of his dark affairs, to mislead the KGB trail and to entertain the girl -- he saw for everything but the musician. Clever, rich, attractive, charming when needed (although extremely cruel when needed as well), brilliantly educated erudite -- he can do nothing against a young boy who has nothing but a pure heart and a love this heart can generate. And as usual in the love triangles, it does not end well for the involved sides -- for some lethally, for some with awful soul scars...
The movie is slow and viscous -- but this is its charm. The music of Grebenschikov (and the XVII-century piece of "Gorod Zolotoi", of course) became a real Russian classic; the historical jumps to the times of Paul I look like an original move of Sergei Solovyov and not like a ridiculous trial to look educated. The guest appearance of Victor Tsoi seems well-timed as well. And finally, Sergei Bugayev (the musician) has a winning role in itself, a martyr against his will -- but to play the parts of Alika and Krymov, it took all the talent of Tatyana Drubich and Stanislav Govorukhin, and they deliver the performances which will never be forgotten.
A good test of movies' quality is watching it again, 10-12 years after its release. I watched it recently, and it became worse -- the colors of the Soviet film faded, and the voices became muter. Technicalities. But as for the movie itself, I dreamt of it at night. This was an epochal movie for the 80-ies, but one that remains as a monument even in the XXI century.
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