Meat merchant Oleg, prostitute Marina, and piano tuner "simply Volodya" drop into an all-night bar in Moscow, where they are served by a narcoleptic bartender (three plus one is four) while...
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Meat merchant Oleg, prostitute Marina, and piano tuner "simply Volodya" drop into an all-night bar in Moscow, where they are served by a narcoleptic bartender (three plus one is four) while each regales the others with made-up biographies. Oleg claims to work in President Putin's administration, supplying him with bottled water and his wife with liquor; Marina passes herself off as a marketing executive; and Volodya, the infamous lead singer of the rock group Leningrad, as a geneticist who clones twins (two times two makes four, again) in a laboratory that has been engaged in these experiments since the days of Stalin. After they separate, these fantasy realities, especially Volodya's, begin to dominate their everyday lives.
Was this Andy Warhol's "Pets or Meat" ? or Henry Jaglom's "Motel Hell"? Possibly Mike Leigh's "Night of the Living Dead"? Anyway, this film has my nomination for best ever use of clones with crones, and also for best use of crones overall. Did you know that if you play this film it matches up very well with Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain"? No? Well maybe it doesn't but it should! Try it!
I found this film consistently involving even though it became increasingly unpleasant and difficult to categorize or interpret. It appeared to have two distinct halves, each with different pacing and tone. The lively and stimulating first half took place in the city (Moscow?) and showed the stories of several characters unfolding. The 2nd half focused on one character and a separate set of people she knew in the country (until the very ending bits). This 2nd half was more claustrophobic, squalid, and disturbing.
After the Seattle 2005 screening during the Q/A session with the director, one Russian woman ranted at him for an act of "treason" in this disturbing portrayal of Russian life, and said it and he were "dirty!", asking him where he lived *now*, he must have been well paid for this, etc. He responded that unlike her he still lived in Russia, that in fact life was *harder* than he portrayed and that Russians drank *more* than he portrayed, etc. After she walked out, he explained that her reaction was typical of the culturally *soviet* people in Russia, who were brought up to always present the best face of Russia at all times.
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