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"Pokhoronite menya za plintusom" is based on an autobiographical novel by Pavel Sanaev - a young writer, screenwriter, film director and translator.
The story in the novel is told by a first person narrator, an eight years old boy living with his grandparents, who would not let him see his mother, while the boy always dreams about seeing her and those rare moments that he spends with her are the happiest in his life. The grandmother, who is dominant in the family, tries to control the little boy's life as much as she can. She believes that her grandson has all the diseases of the world and that he is going to die soon. She loves the boy but her love is mostly expressed in cussing at him and cursing him. One of the zings of the book is the consummate cuss language used by the grandmother.
The film delivers superb acting, especially by the grandmother and her husband. The grandmother fits the role perfectly - her looks, the voice, the tone, the gestures. This is the person I had in mind when I was reading the book. The henpecked grandfather's part played by Aleksey Petrenko is also delivered very well. All the scenes involving the grandparents are good. On the other had, the scenes with the boy's mother and her boyfriend are not satisfying. I especially disliked the way the mother's boyfriend was written - a drunkard constantly quarreling with his girlfriend. There is no such thing in the book where the mother's boyfriend is demonstrated as an intelligent and wise man, respectful and loving towards his girlfriend (and the boy). After all, the character is based on well known Russian actor and director Rolan Bykov, who used to drink at some time in his life but not in the times covered by the novel and the film. By the way, the book is dedicated to Rolan Bykov, towards whom the author had great deal of admiration.
Also, for some reason the director of the film has given certain hints about anti Semitism of the grandmother, while there is nothing about this in the book. I don't know why this was necessary.
Finally, something that the film lacks the most is the humor the novel is filled with. The narrator in the book tells the stories of his childhood (that deal with illnesses, death, conflict between family members, maternal deprivation and other sad subjects) with great humor and optimism. When you read the novel you can't help laughing, however this is completely missing in the film, making it quite dark and gloomy.
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