Ivan is old Russia: thick, dour, hard-working, often brutish; he misses Communism. He drives a taxi and one night meets Alexi, a new Russian, a musician, an alcoholic, irresponsible. Alexi stiffs Ivan for the fare, so Ivan tracks him down and a love-hate relationship ensues. When Alexi lets the bath water run over in Ivan's flat and Ivan must pay 500 rubles for repairs, he tries to force Alexi into day labor to repay him. It's hopeless. Then, suddenly, Alexi is discovered, goes on a jazz tour of America, becomes a celebrity, and returns in triumph. Ivan longs to renew the friendship, and it looks as if he may get what he wants.Written by
Comments focus on friendship forged between taxi driver and musician.
Pavel Lungin's film Taxi Blues explores many different aspects of contemporary Russian life. Set against the cultural malting pot of Moscow, the story unfolds as two men compare and contrast their lots in life, each admiring what the other has and wishing they could have it as well.
The film begins with a taxi driver, driven by the hardships in life and accustomed to the dark side of life in Moscow. He picks up a group of musicians after a night out on the town, and after the last one has been dropped off, he is stiffed on the bill. Enraged, the taxi driver stalks the last musician out of the taxi, corners him, and steals his saxophone. In return, the musician is thus forced to perform manual labor for the taxi fare, and to get his saxophone back! The conflict in the film is evident through the two characters involved here. The taxi driver is a dark, strong-willed character, and the musician is a thin and weak soul. They see each other as complete opposite, almost as enemies. But, they somehow manage to find a friendship through their encounter. Gradually, each becomes dependant upon the other, and this is essentially the film's theme. What Lungin is attempting to convey here is that sometimes the bleakest situations in our lives can provide our best opportunities for self-improvement. Both characters are lost, but in different capacities. They are alone, frustrated, and tired, but both experience these things on different levels; the working class level, and the creative/artistic level. Through their experiences together, both men help one another to achieve something greater for themselves, and their friendship is a testament to that.
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