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The film's story takes place in Moscow in the 1970s. Its plot unfolds around the love triangle between two young men and a girl who study at the same university. They argue, make up, and face their first disappointments and victories. While busy with personal lives and loves, they miss foreseeing that the country in which they were born and live will soon disappear from the map. Written by
Karen Shakhnazarov tells a simple yet effective tale of a giant empire which vanished much too soon.
Those who have been films by Russian director Karen Shakhnazarov will surely waste no time in recognizing certain similarities which exist in "Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya" and one of his old films "Kuryer" which was made in 1987.Both these films gives viewers outside of Russia a very basic yet subtle idea of what it takes to be a youngster in mighty Russia.Although music and young people can be found in both these films,it should be noted that these films must be analyzed using absolutely different ideological yardsticks.A word for those who have not seen old films by Karen Shakhnazarov.They should be requested to have an attentive look at them at the earliest in order to understand how Karen Shakhnazarov has nicely blended his love for music and Russian youth in most of his films.This is something which has given a distinct edge of lightness to the image of Russian cinema which has earned the dubious notoriety of following a recognizable pattern of serious,occult themes."The Vanished Empire" is a curious title which might induce funny ideas in inattentive viewers' heads but this film is only mildly critical of Russian state.The highlight of this film is its depiction of joys of friendship in true Russian style.If surprise end is any indication of a film's ingenuity then "The Vanished Empire" would surely win many a heart by being a truly heroic film showing the frustrations of hapless Russian youth.Film critic Lalit Rao interviewed MOSFILM studio CEO and Russian director Karen Shakhnazarov during a screening of this film at 13th International Film Festival of Kerala 2008 (IFFK) which organized a retrospective of his films.
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