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(Russian with English subtitles) Inna is a typical 30-something yuppy, who also happens to be a single mother. One day discovering that she has an Incurable illness, Inna sets on finding the right adoptive parents for her son.
The beauty of this movie is that you, as the reader of the subtitles, are the only one who knows what is going on. The woman and the two men all speak different languages. It is a comedy of errors up until the end.
The fanciful tale of an introverted little girl who grows up believing she has the power to make wishes come true. She must reconcile this belief with reality when, as a young woman, she journeys to Moscow and grapples with love, modernity and materialism.Written by
Where wishful thinking often brings the unexpected – or unwanted.
This is, as the genre indicates here, a fantasy. There is a mix of comedy and drama within, but it is essentially a fantasy story about a young girl who possesses supernatural powers – or so we are led to believe.
Life for anybody, each day, is a succession of events, is it not? So also with this film where we first see the girl, Alisa (Anastasiya Dontsova), as an eight year old, passing through various episodes of growing up at the seaside, and with dreams of being a ballerina. As the story develops in a continually episodic fashion, Alisa (now played by Masha Shalaeva), now eighteen, moves to Moscow with her mother (Mariya Sokova) and grandmother (Albina Evtushevskaya), begins the process of finding work, and discovers the good and bad sides of life in general.
So, like other movies – notably Amelie (2001) with Audrey Tautou – the viewer is treated to a series of comedic/dramatic vignettes about what can happen when a young person starts life in earnest as an adult. And, while I might compare the frenetic Tautou's acting to that of Charlie Chaplin, Masha Shalaeva, in contrast, is a female Buster Keaton par excellence: her deadpan expressions, her sly looks, the ghosts of her smiles are treats to watch and remember.
Central to the story is Alisa's belief she is prescient and can make wishes come true; central, also, is the fact she has fallen in love with a high-powered, boozy, marketing man about Moscow, Sasha (Evgeniy Tsyganov), and does her utmost to make his life more comfortable; in turn, he simple regards Alisa as his bi-weekly cleaning lady. Along the way, Alisa discovers Sasha is already hitched up with a stunning, silky, slinky blonde, Rita (Irina Skrinichenko) – a fact that simple makes Alisa try harder to make Sasha truly see her.
We all make wishes during life. Sometimes, things do come about as we hope. Most of the time, however, nothing fantastic happens. Instead, what ultimately occurs in this story brings Alisa, Sasha and the viewer back to all-too-grim reality, encapsulating, perhaps, the thought that you should be careful about what you wish for...
The production is quite professional; the photography is great, so also the editing and directing. I particularly liked the sound track. And the acting? While the supporting cast is uniformly good – notably Evgeniy Tsyganov – Masha Shaleva is not to be missed, in my opinion; I look forward to seeing her in other roles. Mention should also be made of Anastasiya Dontsova as the young Alisa.
Give this a good seven out of ten. Recommended for all.
August 25, 2012
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