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Papa, umer Ded Moroz (1991)

A biologist, obsessed with the idea of writing a treatise on a new kind of mouse, becomes witness to a number of bizarre and horrific events, from his son's suicide, to the S&M engaged in ... See full summary »


Evgeniy Yufit


Vladimir Maslov, Aleksei Tolstoy (novel) (as Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy)




Credited cast:
Anatoliy Egorov Anatoliy Egorov
Ivan Ganzha Ivan Ganzha
Maksim Gribov Maksim Gribov
Lyudmila Kozlovskaya Lyudmila Kozlovskaya


A biologist, obsessed with the idea of writing a treatise on a new kind of mouse, becomes witness to a number of bizarre and horrific events, from his son's suicide, to the S&M engaged in by respectable middle-aged men, to his own family's psychic morbidity. Written by Dimitry Eipides

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A strange Russian art film with a bizarro take on the horror genre
22 September 2020 | by CantileverCaribouSee all my reviews

It's actually questionable if this should really be placed in the horror genre, though it is tagged as such on IMDB; regardless, it's a puzzling film with a darker than black atmosphere, which is unsettling due to its morbid themes and lack of almost any exposition or dialogue. I'm not sure if any synopsis will do the film justice or would be a good intro to help one understand exactly what is going on in this film. The sole other review on IMDB nails all of the key points; this is a poetic Russian art film along the lines of Tarkovsky or Sokurov, but filled with an occult despair.

Given that a character announced dead appears to mysteriously come back from the dead, I can't help but liken this to a zombie film, like Night of the Living Dead or some such, only if they made it as a poetic art film in the Russian tradition and obscured the fact that it was a genre film at all, took out any explanation of what characters are doing and their relationship to each other, filmed mostly in long shots, underacting or almost listless performances rather than overacting, etc. Whether this is horror or not, it's so strange, mysterious, and atmospheric that it's far more horrific than outdated genre works like NotLD or even most horror films; it's worth a look for the open-minded fan of horror or for lovers of Russian art cinema.

The murderous happenings in the beginning that are perpetrated by the child and the grandfather are never explained. About all we know is that the main character heads to a small village where his cousin lives, presumably to write a story about a mouse or shrew. A radio message seems to have symbolic implications as it talks about using a poison to kill moles disturbing farms. It's not clear if it's actually the outsiders of the village that are being discussed, the strange men who roam around with their peculiar ritual of wrapping people in cloths, or simply just moles (sometimes a mole is just a mole). There is one segment of surprising dialogue that clarifies a few points near the end--intimating that the rituals performed by the men are a means of "understanding the unknown," (unfortunately, the translation I had was a bit poor, though I doubt it would have made a difference) but it's all very vague.

It ends on a disturbing and very memorable note, though, of course, failing to provide any kind of closure or convenient explanation for the events of the film. I'd like to eventually read into the intentions of the creators or interpretations of film theorists, but I suspect the film was, is, and will always be, an enigma. Though the film is quite slow and overly obscure, the black and white cinematography and unexplained logic of the events carries the atmosphere wonderfully, and if their intent was to make a startling and ineffable work of cinema, then the filmmakers have succeeded.

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Soviet Union



Release Date:

1991 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

Daddy, Father Frost Is Dead See more »

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