Without subtitles, it was difficult to follow this Russian version of "The King of Hearts", not as whimsical but another juxtaposition of the madness of World War I and the clarity of the asylum. The focus of this film is the set of relationships in the asylum which are not entirely bound by conventions from the outside world. Frequent images of Africans, Asians and fleeing animals seemed heavy handed distractions from a potentially more effective critique of the human condition. The theme music from 1930's jazz and 1950's pop culture, so obviously out of place in the World War I period, was an effective addition to the craziness of the film.
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