Ivan is old Russia: thick, dour, hard-working, often brutish; he misses Communism. He drives a taxi and one night meets Alexi, a new Russian, a musician, an alcoholic, irresponsible. Alexi ... See full summary »
Epic film about WWII, a sequel to Burnt by the Sun (1994). Evil Stalin is terrorizing people of Russia while the Nazis are advancing. Russian officer Kotov, who miraculously survived the ... See full summary »
Two Russian soldiers, one battle-seasoned and the other barely into his boots and uniform, are taken prisoner by an anxious Islamic father from a remote village hoping to trade them for his captured son.
Having previously seen "Pro urodov i ljudej" in glorious sepia, I was already familiar with the idiosyncratic world of Balabanov, very much akin to Caro and Jeunet's vision of mankind in their similarly bleak rendition of emotional down-spiraling. Constructed as a simile of a theme with many variations, recurring and developing throughout the film, this superbly shot black and white gem could have been shot in the 50s or the 70s or the 90s - so simple and so powerful are its characters and circumstances. The continuous attempts to fit in, to find one's niche in the empty and desolate landscape of a somewhat modern, but clearly abandoned city constitute the narrative, punctuated by eccentric yet very realistic characters some of whom we only hear. Simple events can turn out to be phantasmagorias, and the most unusual noises and visual sequences reveal to be but a look from aside. Camera-work is mesmerizing - the sequences in the dark foyer, the crane shot over the city near the end of the film, as well as the ending - are simply stunning. Fans of Raoul Ruiz, Caro and Jeunet - this is a must-see film!
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