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Absurdistan (2008)

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An allegorical comedy centered on two childhood sweethearts who seem destined for one another until the women of their isolated village, angered by male indifference toward the water ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kristyna Malérová ...
Max Mauff ...
Temelko (as Maximilian Mauff)
Nino Chkheidze ...
Ivane Ivantbelidze ...
Shooting Gallery Guy
Ilko Stefanovski ...
Guri - Temelko's Father
Assun Planas ...
Temelko's Mother
Otto Kuhnle ...
Hijran Nasirova ...
Barber's Wife
Hendrik Arnst ...
Olga Nefyodova ...
Landlord's Wife
Adalet Zyadhanov ...
Matanat Atakishiyeva ...
Policeman's Wife
Azelarab Kaghat ...
Michaela Bandi ...
Baker's Wife


An allegorical comedy centered on two childhood sweethearts who seem destined for one another until the women of their isolated village, angered by male indifference toward the water shortage, go on a sex strike that threatens the young couple's first night of love. Written by Sundance Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 March 2008 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Absurdistán  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,441 (USA) (6 February 2009)


$39,078 (USA) (12 June 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

Absurdistan: A Breath of Fresh Air
9 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Remember 'Lysistrata' written by Aristophanes in 411 BC, a comedy of 'one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace, a strategy however that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for its exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society and for its use of both double entendre and explicit obscenities'? Writer/director Veit Helmer (with co- writers Gordon Mihic and Zaza Buadze) have very successfully updated this tale, bathed it in magical realism and fantasy, placed it somewhere along the Silk Road in the mountains where no one would want to live, and have called it ABSURDISTAN. This is one of those films that very thankfully requires us to surrender the need for realism and substitute the pleasure of laughing and spend a comfortable hour and a half of parody of current sexism and the rich treasures of old movies, bawdy silliness, and the magic of love. For this viewer it works on every level - thanks in part to the imaginative cinematography of Giorgi Beridze and the charm of Shigeru Umebayashi's musical score.

Absurdistan has a problem: the water supply that comes from a complex well system in the mountains outside the town has diminished to a trickle. The men of the town ignore their wives' complaints, preferring instead to gather daily in the local teahouse, leaving the women to not only tend to their homes but also finish the work of the men. A significant diverting part of this community is a young couple who have been in love since childhood, married in a mock ceremony at age 8, matured to teenagers- Aya (Kristyna Malérová) and Temelko (Maximilian Mauf) - but warned by the girl's grandmother (Nino Chkheidze) that they may not consummate their union until the stars are in alignment in four years! Temelko has spent his youth inventing things, not exactly in the mold of the other men of the village. He and Aya believe that their sexual union will give Aya the ability to fly, and Temelko intends to keep that concept viable.

The young men of Absurdistan, Temelko among them, are bused off to some city where they are to learn how to fix the water shortage. While they are gone the women, much due to Aya's leadership decide that in order to force the lazy men to work on the problem, they will withhold conjugal obligations: no water, no sex. The bus returns -empty - and only Temelko comes back to the village because of Aya. The silly men decide to avoid being dominated by the women's rule and try multiple ways to find satisfaction, first by attempting to leave town to go gallivanting into the city (aborted by the wives), then to invite a carnival shooting gallery into the town - the prize being a night with the shooting gallery owner's (Ivane Ivantbelidze) daughter (Ani Amiridze). Naturally the one who can successfully hit the target is Temelko, and while Aya believes Temelko will sacrifice his conjugal initiation, he instead devises inventions that entertain Aya and eventually he is able to solve the water problem. And as promised, with the entire village celebrating restored physical bliss, Temelko sets off a fantastical machine that allows Aya to fly - and return, thrilled, back to his arms.

Though this film is directed by the fine German director Veit Helmer, the feeling is entirely that of Russian folklore. The actors selected for the villagers have the most interesting faces and bodies imaginable and the exuberance of their acting is infectious. The reference to the history of the town (often tying in to old movies) is photographed like scratchy old film, and the active story itself is in rapturously beautiful color. The film's story is basically voice over (in Russian), except for Aya's protestations. This is a fable, a fairytale, and a pure escapist delight of a film. It would be difficult not to fall under its spell.

Grady Harp

4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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