Marina, an upper-class social worker with a doting husband and an enviable downtown apartment, is suddenly transformed into a bizarre twilight version of herself after having been raped by three policemen.
A mother wants to reunite with her twin daughters. A young couple marry in church, but immediately after the ceremony, God - or maybe the Devil, or maybe Blind Fate - tests their love in ... See full summary »
There are two of them: a mother and a girl. They have no names. And they are in a constant run. The mother runs away from the daughter in an attempt to start new life, and the girl runs ... See full summary »
Two men and a woman happen to meet in a bar. We learn from their conversations both the intriguing and banal details of their lives. But is anyone really telling the truth? From the meat ... See full summary »
Young married couple in today's Moscow: He's an unemployed guy who gets some money by giving rides to strangers at nights. She's a young graphic designer who just got her first job. The ... See full summary »
Lena is a bright, disabled girl who, after years spent studying at home, is keen to get back to school. She is assigned to a special class for disabled pupils who have to present themselves... See full summary »
Ivan I. Tverdovskiy
Germany, 1986: Niels, 17, and his mother Hanne leave Bremen to live in a rural hippie community after her divorce. While Hanne falls in love with Peter, the guru, her son doesn't like him ... See full summary »
Gabriela Maria Schmeide,
A plane explodes above the Gulf of Guinea. An escort girl is murdered in a Parisian park. Thousands of miles separate these two events, and yet Nora Chahyd, believes there's a connection ... See full summary »
A young writer brings a collection of short stories to a big Moscow publishing house. The manuscript stays at the office and mysteriously influences the lives of anyone who opens it and ... See full summary »
A very typical post-Soviet era storyline. Three young men lured an innocent teenage girl to their apartment, offered her a drink, intimidated then gang raped her. Local cops are incapable ... See full summary »
Marina is an attractive upper-class woman with an opulent wardrobe and a good-looking husband. She's employed as a social worker, a profession offering meager financial rewards. Thankfully her affluent father provides the supplementary income which her job as well as hapless husband cannot. Yet instead of finding contentment in her win-win situation, Marina carries on an affair with her best friend's husband, and also initiates a bizarre series of erotic encounters with a deadbeat cop who previously raped her. Written by
A commentary about Russian society in the style of Haneke
Having seen such a wonderful film at the Stockholm Film Festival as "Twilight Portrait" I was quite embarrassed when my countrymen showed themselves to be culturally handicapped when asking director Angelina Nikonova and co-writer/lead actor Olga Dykhovichnaya, at the screenings Q/A, some of the most obvious questions ever. This cultural (including literature, art and cinema) ineptitude is the only explanation I can possibly have for this, since "Twilight Portrait" is an excellent movie on many different levels.
Above all Nikonova and Dykhovichnaya have made a movie that, in the vein of Gogol and Dostoevsky, comments on a country that they love, but a society that they desperately want to improve. The flaws of modern Russian society are accurately addressed by the creators, and what is foremost eminent about this targeting is that, even though festival writers want to accentuate the gender issue, it applies to all levels of inadequacy - no matter if it is police corruption (genderless) or male chauvinism.
Psychology plays an enormous part of this movie and in an age where heavily make-uped pirates or vampires facing teenage dilemmas is the norm, I hope AN and OD applies the philosophy "It is not HOW MANY people you impress, but rather WHO you impress that matters" to their filmmaking, otherwise they are going to be disappointed. Most people will find this movie boring and slow, because they are used to shallow, fast moving plot. Some scenes are truly harrowing and not for the common viewer.
Nikonova use some techniques that are characteristic for Michael Haneke and she masters them quite well, which makes me confide in her ability to make good movies. Haneke is, according to me, the world's premier director, and anyone who successfully can be influenced by his work is a huge friend of mine.
A last note on this movie is that I've seen quite a lot of modern Russian productions (including the work of Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, Andrei Zvyagintsev and Alexander Zeldovich), though it is really rare that I get moved in the way that "Twilight Portrait" moved me. Perhaps it is because I recognize the truthfulness in Nikonovas description of modern Russia, and if anyone less subjected to empiricism concerning this country watches it, it must be the best window into an unknown world created in a long time.
12 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?