7.7/10
284
1 user 5 critic
The director films the street where he lives in St. Petersburg, for a whole year, documenting the changes caused by the celebration of its 300th anniversary.

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(as Victor Kossakovsky)

Writers:

(inspiration), (as Victor Kossakovsky)
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4 nominations. See more awards »

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The director films the street where he lives in St. Petersburg, for a whole year, documenting the changes caused by the celebration of its 300th anniversary.

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26 June 2003 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Tische!  »

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1.85 : 1
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Cold War documentary
14 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

I keep forgetting how this movie was marketed, but what I garnered from it was that it is a spectacularly successful documentary at illustrating why the West won the Cold War and the Soviet Union collapsed. This might sound like a major stretch, but consider the following:

  • the same pot hole is patched at least half a dozen times, each time the work area gets bigger. Presumably, the job is botched each time.


  • the pot hole is fixed by five or six people: one driving the steamroller, two shoveling dirt, two edging the blacktop, and one guy supervising. Lots of wasted effort; each person does their job and their job only.


  • the streets fill with water each time there's a heavy downpour--bad city planning?


  • sidewalk sweepers are shown at the beginning of the movie. The audience I watched with laughed because it was clear the workers were just going through the motions and not really clearing the dirt from the sidewalk.


  • the sides of buildings are sprayed and scrub-brushed by city workers each spring, yet it's a rudimentary scrubbing that doesn't seem to accomplish much. I imagine these are jobs given so everyone has a job and, in theory, contribute to the common good. The problem is that you can see the results are negligible thanks to the half-hearted effort. In a non-Socialized country, you decide when your windows need washing and then you wash them yourself (presumably being thorough and taking pride in beautifying your own living space).


  • In the springtime, some gutter downspouts are torn off the side of buildings because the wintertime ice has damaged them. Considering the quantity of downspouts in the truck, it isn't an isolated occurrence. Bad planning/engineering, again?


All of this sums up to a lot of wasted time, money, and effort which is a classic symptom of a Socialized society. There appears to be little or no pride-in-workmanship. The movie is a fun voyage through a calendar year and makes you notice a lot of little things. There are a tremendous amount of amusing visual tidbits shot both in an approachable and artistic way. The lack of dialogue, at least for my sensibilities, is not an obstacle to enjoyment.

I saw this movie at the Minnesota International Film Festival in the spring of 2004 and it was one of my favorites.


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