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Vse umrut a ya ostanus (2008)
horrors of modern adolescence
"Everybody dies, but me" is a surprisingly powerful coming-of-age drama, set in the suburbs of contemporary Moscow. Amidst a scenery of desolate concrete towers the 9-grader Shanna, Vika and Katya spend a crucial period of their adolescence dominated by school, violent parents, and of course the longing for fun and love. As a school disco is announced, all their thoughts and desires get concentrated onto this one event. This, however, will not at all bring about what the girls are looking for...
While the main plot itself is far from revolutionary and works off many clichés like (halfhearted) suicide attempts, a flight from parents home for the sake of a party and douchebags for lovers, the movie never feels simplistic or shallow. This is because its focus is not on what happens but how it happens and the implications that come along with it for the protagonists' status (within their own small peer group and within the school) and their developing identity. This is where the director Valeriya Gay Germanika has put all her efforts into and she has done it well. Though the movie is relatively short the main characters develop a convincing, multi-faceted personality moving far beyond the average teenager-movie.
This is of course only possible with convincing actors, and here again we are lucky because Polina Filonenko, Agniya Kuznetsova and Olga Shuvalova but also some side characters deliver - especially in the second half of the story - a stunning performance throughout most diverse episodes ranging from intimate friendship to brutal violence.
A strong indicator for the quality of the movie is the great interest one develops in the characters, though there is not a single one to identify with. In fact, the more one knows about them the less one sympathizes with them. This is a key element in a movie depicting adolescence not as the exciting time of sometimes difficult but in the end fruitful striving for love and success but rather as a period of weakness, insecurity and instability and the medium horror that comes with it for so many teenagers. In that, it is rather dissection than entertainment, and those who only seek the latter and have no interest in the former may be disappointed. Those, however, who are looking for a convincing portrait of how it is to grow up in the bleak quarters of our modern society the movie is highly recommended.