Generally,for the most part,fiction films dealing with real life persons have always left me cold,so I approached this film with a sense of dread. Guess what? It turned out better than I expected (although not without a flaw,or two,but more about that later).'Poltory Komnaty ili sentimentalnoe puteshestvie na rodinu',released in English speaking countries as 'A Room And A Half',focuses on Joseph Brodsky,a Russian poet,who was exiled by the Soviet government in the early 1960's for ideas that were anti Soviet (as well as the horrific crime of being Jewish,by Soviet standards),is the central focus in this film. We see an aged Brodsky (played by Grigory Dityatkowsky),usually sitting around,either on a boat,or in some New York Russian social club, ruminating over what has happened to the Russia of his dreams. Incorporating narrative,Brodsky's poetry,animation,visual expressionism (Brodsky's parents are at times represented as a pair of black birds,as a visual metaphor),we get a feel of what it's like to be the odd man out, in an era of totalitarianism,as well as vile anti Semitism. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Alisa Friendich,as Brodsky's Mother,Sergei Yursky as Brodsky's Father (no first names are ever given),as well as Svetlana Kryqichkova,Alexander Bergman,Vladimir Rozygraed,and way too many to mention here. The film does at times acts as a mirror for certain aspects of Russian social history in the early to mid 20th century If I have any quirk about this film,is that it is a bit long in the tooth (clocking in at 130 minutes is a bit much---20 minutes could easily have been pruned out without compromising the film's message). Veteran film maker/animator Andrey Khrzhanovsky ('Osen') directs from a screen play written by Yuri Arabov & Khrzhanovsky. The film's poetic cinematography is by Vladimir Brylyakov,with editing by Ryjonkov Evgeni,Timofey Golobororodko & Lacis Normund. A film for the deep thinker in all of us. Spoken in Russian with English subtitles. Not rated by the MPAA,this film serves up one brief outburst of strong language,some brief nudity,some minor sexual content & some on screen smoking & drinking of alcohol
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