The grim film: Jared Lee Of Grim Film Talks About His Award-Winning The Last 7

Jared Lee Of Grim Film Talks About His Award-Winning The Last 7

  • Malaysian YouTuber Jared Lee and his film studio Grim Film recently won two awards—Best Pilot and Best Special Effects—at the Vancouver WebFest in Canada for their short film The Last 7.
  • Jared opens up about experience of creating The Last 7, and talks about the challenges and lessons learned as a result of the process.

Grim Film‘s short film The Last 7 marries the familiar imagery of urban Malaysian life with bits of the fantastical.

It invokes a sort of quasi-realist quality that’s reminiscent of films like the original Matrix; you kind of know to which locale the film is taking you to, and yet you also don’t know for sure.

Little things like the Keluar sign pinned above a door jamb or the corporate logos of the Star Media Group in public view lend a sense of familiarity to the story, and yet the viewer can never be certain whether or not this is really Malaysia—intensified by the cast not using local colloquialisms and slang.

Just last month, The Last 7 earned international recognition at the Vancouver WebFest, winning the “Best Pilot” and “Best Special Effects” categories while beating out other entries from the USA, Canada, France, and Australia—nothing short of an accomplishment for Jared who has never attended film school.

Jared posing with the Vancouver WebFest awards back in the Grim Film HQ / Image Credit: Grim Film

“The idea for The Last 7 came to me way back in 2012 when I was writing short films for our YouTube channel,” Jared said. “There was always a dead character in my early shorts, and I thought to myself—what if these characters got collected by a reaper with the looks of a salesman instead of skull-faced figure with a scythe?”

Doing More With Less

With an A-team of talent comprising of the likes of Malaysian actor and musician Nick Davis, cinematographer Jordan Chiam of Interchange fame, and his own Grim Film chum and producer Edward Lim among others, The Last 7 project was—by Jared’s own admission—ambitious.

Amid planning, writing, and conceptualising, the main adversary was—as expected of many independent film projects—a budget squeeze. And despite receiving partial pitch funding from Maker Studios in late 2016, there still remained a shortfall, leading Jared and team to dig from within their own pockets to make up the deficit.

“Due to the budget we could only afford a three day production, and the script was ambitious for what we had,” Jared explained. “And there are several things to worry about when budget is an issue—should I compromise on film quality, on the set, or on post production?”

Eventually, the main trade-off that the team settled on was slumber.

“On the last day we shot from 5 AM to 7 AM, and we saw the sun rise twice over a period of 26 hours!” Jared said. “The hardest moment was giving our best despite the team not having proper sleep.”

But overall, Jared counts the experience as one with more upsides, and recounted a number of highlight moments that transpired during the production process.

“My favourite scene was when the piggy bank crashed into the floor with blood spilling out—I came up with it on a whim,” he said.

“While we were shooting, it felt like overkill to capture that one little thing, but on the big screen, it became the ‘heaviest’ visual which I didn’t foresee.”

“The hardest scene to film was the car driver before he got hit by the truck—no one will notice but the entire shot was done in reverse,” he explained. “Ben Chan (the actor in that shot) acted in reverse and he has my utmost respect!”

Image Credit: Grim Film

“I didn’t allow him to blink, because if you reverse a blink, it looks weird, so we had many takes to get the timing down. It was mindblowing!”

But most significantly for Jared was how this project helped him grow as a filmmaker, with the end result the sum of all his triumphs and shortcomings as a cinematic artist.

Image Credit: Grim Film

“I never wanted to make it unless I knew that I’d grown to a certain level as a filmmaker, and until I knew the people with the ability to translate what I had in mind,” he said. “I told myself that if this were to happen, it would have to be way better than what we’ve made so far.”

“It had to show growth, and in writing I was very strict with myself and crafted as much as I could within what budget we had.”

Good Vibes In Grim Times

Eventually, hard work reaped rewards, with the two wins at the Vancouver WebFest signifying a victory for not only Grim Film, but also to an extent Malaysian filmmaking (The Last 7 was also the first ever Malaysian entrant to win at this event).

It was unfortunate however that Jared—in the midst of a testicular cancer diagnosis—wasn’t able to accept the accolades in person; Edward had to go alone to receive them in Vancouver.

Jared and his wife, Marianne revealed his cancer diagnosis in a YouTube video in March this year. Speaking on why he has been so open with his cancer diagnosis, he said, “I feel that being Malaysian, we’re brought up to be very conservative and when it comes down to things like cancer it’s the worst thing to be conservative about. I can only hope that the video made the topic more comfortable to be talked about among friends and family.” / Image Credit: GrimFilm

Despite the situation, Jared is thankful that the awards came when they did.

“I thank God this happened when it happened; it lifted our spirits in the midst of the battle,” he said. “This award meant a lot to me and I hope did also did for everyone involved in The Last 7.”

“As an aspiring filmmaker who did not attend film school, I was told a lot of times that I didn’t have what it takes to be one,” he added. “But I continued to pursue the dream and having one of my works recognised in a foreign country means the world to me.”

“It was like someone telling me, ‘hey, just keep chasing, you’re on the right path’.”

“We hope as a community we will keep experimenting and adapting for what’s to come” – Producer Edward Lim receiving the awards in Vancouver / Image Credit: Grim Film

With early success for The Last 7 coming as sure encouragement to his team, Jared is now hoping to turn The Last 7 into a full series, with the chief concern still to do with money, or rather the lack thereof.

“We’re still currently looking for possible parties to fund The Last 7,” he said. “We’re currently in talks but nothing is confirmed yet, but fingers crossed!”

He had a few parting words of wisdom to share for any young aspiring filmmakers who’ve heard his story and see his journey as an inspiration, particularly about starting off with zero experience.

“I would definitely advice anyone who plans to do the same to NOT do it. If I could reverse time, I would’ve done more research, go take up a class, or work in a production company for at least a year to know what it’s like.”

“To learn through mistakes is the worst kind of lesson.”

Feature Image Credit: Grim Film

The Grim Game (1919) – Turner Classic Movies

Aeons before Dennis Rodman, The Rock, Evil Knievel and Shaquille O’Neal morphed their semi-genuine athletic-entertainer

personas into wholly fantastical movie-movie simulacrum, there was Harry Houdini, the world-famous magician and escape

artist, and the most highly paid vaudeville performer in the century’s first decades. Then as now, such was the nature

of cinematic show business – despite movies’ plastic uniqueness, the medium was then and still is seen within its own

industry as an extension of vaudeville spectacle. People will, it is presumed, come to see anyone famous, even if

they’re not actors or even particularly photogenic – basketball players, stuntmen, pop singers, trumpet players,

gymnasts, ballet dancers (Rudolph Nureyev!), even ice skaters (Sonja Henie!).

This paradigm generally reveals only the film industry’s short-minded penchant for money-grubbing and exploitation, and

nothing about its aesthetics or achievements as entertainment. But with time the upshots can be seductive, as it is

with the new Kino box – Houdini: The Movie Star – that encompasses almost all of the surviving footage from

Houdini’s short-lived acting career (he quit in 1923, dissatisfied with movies’ profitability). Here we have American

movies at possibly their least pretentious, their least schooled, and their most pulpishly innocent. Starting with the

massive serial The Master Mystery (1919), reduced by decay and loss to about four hours of its original seven or

so, Houdini’s career as leading man had nothing to do with his charisma or good looks, and everything to do with his

reputation in “escapology”; between the features and fragments stacked up here, he escapes from life-or-death

imprisonment dozens of times. Houdini’s act was apparently so popular that audiences didn’t care very much about the

difference between seeing him perform an escape live and watching a film, with cuts and short cuts and faked

circumstances, etc. True, the films – including Terror Island (1920) and Houdini’s last, Haldane of the

Secret Service
(1923) – revel in the moments when Houdini leaps off a cliff into the sea or climbs a building

without any help at all, each in single uninterrupted shots. But in Movieland, as audiences had to know in 1919,

absolutely anything could appear to happen, but not really happen at all.

The films’ escapes have an extra layer of textual gist to them – in real life, Houdini’s performances, whether on a

theater stage or hanging upside-down over a city street in a strait-jacket, were merely daring showbiz acts, to sell

tickets and/or drum up publicity. They had no independent meaning, separate from the public’s rubber-necking affection

for them and the money they made Houdini and his backers. But Houdini’s movies do cartwheels and handstands fabricating

dramatic contexts for these same escapes, so they are unavoidable cornerstones in elaborate plots in which Houdini’s

characters (always bearing double-H initials) are haplessly embroiled. The films substantiate the escapes as “real”

crises and heroisms, thereby allowing Houdini, and his viewers, to daydream together about a pulp world in which

Houdini’s redoubtale skills would be of real use, to fight real villains and save real lives, instead of being merely

pointless public entertainment. Movies being what they are, audiences between 1919 and 1923 went to Houdini’s movies

for the sheer spectacle of seeing Houdini be Houdini, but they also got lost in a fantasy landscape where Houdini

wasn’t a magician but an invincible ubermensch, fighting evil.

It could only happen in Hollywood – a 5’5″ Jewish kid from Hungary becomes, by virtue of his own bravado and

double-jointed-ness, a kind of aboriginal superhero. In the years leading up to 1919, Douglas Fairbanks was honing his

vibrant brand of nervy physical jouissance, but the Sax Rohmer-influenced mix in the Houdini movies of evil

conspiracies, relentless stunt-man peril and outrageous invention (The Master Mystery features cinema’s first,

and probably most hilarious, robot) formed the template for scores of action-adventure serials to come, through to the

decades leading up to television, and then including Alfred Hitchcock’s most popular wrong-man thrillers, countless

psychotronic TV shows, and the Indiana Jones movies – as well as the uncountable imitators of all of the above. This is

the ground floor in a vast cultural enterprise, a bottomless geyser of silly all-American thrill-making. (The exception

may be 1922’s The Man from Beyond, which recounts how a man, frozen on an Arctic shipwreck for a century, is

thawed and awakens to obsessions about the woman he left behind. Produced by Houdini’s own company, it awaits a


For all of the reality-fantasy slippage sensed in the films’ use of Houdini’s persona, he was far from an inadequate

leading man. Acting in serials was not rocket science, but by virtue of his small frame’s athletic confidence and

quicksilver reflexes Houdini was as hypnotic a physical presence as Fairbanks or Buster Keaton, whether it be writhing

out of chains or matter-of-factly grabbing and lifting up bigger men over his head with one motion. Never does the

lizard-eyed Houdini seem awkward or out of place or anything less than commanding, even given his bizarre schoolboy

haircut and effulgence of mascara.

But perhaps the final and decisive allure of the DVD set, presenting in toto a fascinating episode in American cinema

history most of us knew absolutely nothing about, comes down to its breathless, blissful aura of old-fashioned odeon

naivete. Like many forgotten and unhailed silent films, Houdini’s evoke a lovely, child-like revisitation to a ghostly

past we’d long since ceased to remember as significant. The movies’ stylistic, thematic and narrative material becomes

secondary to the weight of history – film history as well as cultural history. You could learn acres about the American

sensibility just after the Great War from these films, but in the meantime watching them is like an itch-free morphine

dream from which you don’t long to wake.

For more information about Houdini: The Movie Star, visit Kino International. To order

Houdini: The Movie Star, go to
TCM Shopping.

by Michael Atkinson

Fay Grim – The Hollywood Reporter

PARK CITY — A story of literature, international intrigue and family loyalty, Hal Hartley’s “Fay Grim” exists somewhere between the Marx Brothers and an espionage thriller. A sequel — something rare in the indie world — to his 1998 hit “Henry Fool,” the film stars Parker Posey in the kind of strong and quirky role that has made her the darling of Sundance. This is definitely not a mainstream item, but it could attract an audience ready for something completely different.

A Hartley film is like an inside joke — if you get it, it’s funny; if not, you will probably come away scratching your head. His films are more about atmosphere, characters (usually eccentrics), snappy dialogue and outlandish plots. “Fay Grim” is no exception.

Since the first film eight years ago, Fay’s idiot savant husband Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) has been on the lam from the law; her brother, Simon (James Urbaniak), a Nobel Prize-winning garbage man/poet from Woodside, Queens, N. Y., is incarcerated for helping Henry escape; and her 14-year-old son Ned (Liam Aiken) has been expelled from school for bringing in pornography.

It turns out that Henry’s handwritten confessional filling seven or eight notebooks, the subject of the first film, is really encoded revelations he wrote for the CIA. Threatening to unhinge the balance of power in the world, the notebooks become the subject of an international hunt ranging from New York to Paris to Istanbul and thrust Fay into the midst of terrorist activity.

Hartley obviously loves the Grim family and uses them as a prism to look at some of the mayhem in the world today. When CIA agent Fulbright (Jeff Goldblum) tricks Fay into going to Paris to retrieve Henry’s papers, she learns quickly how to handle herself in dangerous situations. She is smart but unsophisticated — a representative American — and becomes the target for all sorts of feelings about the U.S. But much of the time, the characters seem more comical than threatening.

Among the people Fay encounters are a Russian flight attendant (Elina Lowensohn), who was Henry’s lover, a beautiful British spy with a bum leg (Saffron Burrows) and a bumbling French operative (Harold Schrott). All roads lead to a real live Afghani terrorist (Anatole Taubman), Henry’s best friend, who is keeping him in captivity, perhaps for his own good.

It doesn’t all quite add up, and even Hartley admits there are some holes in the plot. He seems more interested in testing Fay in situations, watching her grow and teaching some life lessons along the way. Fortunately, Posey, who has worked with Hartley three times before, is an actress who can pull off this kind of material that borders on the absurd but has a deep reservoir of human emotion. In fact, the whole cast, headed by Goldblum, Urbaniak and Lowensohn, seems to be in on the joke.

Working in HD for the first time, Hartley brings some interesting off-kilter camera angles and stylistic touches to the film, like flashing words on the screen to spell out how Fay is putting ideas together in her head. On a small budget, cinematographer Sarah Cawley Cabiya makes international locations like the Bosphorous and Turkish streets look big.

“Fay Grim” is the kind of film you might not get at first (or ever), but the next morning you might find that something about it has embedded itself in your consciousness. That’s Hartley’s subversive sense of humor at work.

Magnolia Pictures
HDNet Films presents a Possible Films production in association with This Is That and Zero Fiction, with the support of Mediaboard Berlin Brandenburg
Screenwriter-director-editor: Hal Hartley
Producers: Hal Hartley, Michael S. Ryan, Martin Hagemann, Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente
Executive producers: Ted Hope, Todd Wagner, Mark Cuban
Director of photography: Sarah Cawley Cabiya
Production designer: Richard Sylvarnes
Costume designers: Anette Guther, Daniela Selig
Fay Grim: Parker Posey
Fulbright: Jeff Goldblum
Simon Grim: James Urbaniak
Juliet: Saffron Burrows
Ned Grim: Liam Aiken
Bebe: Elina Lowensohn
Carl Fogg: Leo Fitzpatrick
Angus James: Chuck Montgomery
Henry Fool: Thomas Jay Ryan
Running time — 118 minutes
No MPAA rating

Horror Movie Review: Grim (1995)

Monster movies of the 90s really struggled. Seemingly having run out of ideas & suffering the hangover of the untamed 80s. A lack of interest in horror (something that would change a year later with Scream) saw low-budget & unimpressive films made & go straight to VHS/DVD. The middle of the 90s was a rough time for horror.

Grim is one such film. A film that has a visual quality of a low-budget 80s horror but none of the flair & even less of the imagination. Vapid & soulless characters, poor acting, questionable plot points & a disappointing monster.

The story centres around a group of who head into the caves below town seemingly to find hidden gold. However two in particular have a different reason to be down there. They’re on a monster hunt!

This thing was summoned by a group of ‘youngsters’ while messing with a Ouija board. It kidnapped one of their number & has now taken a liking to materialising in people’s houses. Yes, this monster can do that.

It’s up to this group of cave-goers to hunt the beast, kill it & rescue its captives.

Be prepared to be bored, Grim isn’t just wholly unoriginal, it’s near offensive in just how bland & boring it is. Offering nothing new, there are a hundred other monster movies that did something similar with far better results.

With characters this forgettable it’s amazing just how much time is actually focused on them. Long scenes of nothing in the worst cave set possible. If you manage to make it in far enough to see more of the monster you’ll feel like you shouldn’t have bothered. It’s not worth it.

A cheap rubber suit & motivations that make little sense, his abilities seem more based on just how stupid or deaf the cast are. For example, a strangulation occurs mere yards away from the rest & they don’t hear a thing. This level of absurdity exists throughout but to make things worse, it’s just not entertaining.

The choppy editing, lack of scares and lacklustre finale all but confirms the waste of time that Grim is. It can’t even be given credit for gore as here everything looks fake & plastic. Avoid.

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  • The Final Score – 2/10

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The Grim Reaper

The Grim Reaper
La commare seca
By Dan Bradbury

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Producer: Antonio Cervi

Screenplay: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergio Citti, Bernardo Bertolucci

Director of Photography: Gianni Narzizi

Editor: Nino Baragli

Music: Carlo Rusticelli

The Grim Reaper was filmed on location in Rome in 1961
by Bernardo Bertolucci, who was only twenty-one years old
at the time. The screenplay for the black and white
picture was based on a story written by Bertolucci’s mentor,
Pier Paolo Pasolini. Like Pasolini, Bertolucci adopts the
Italian neo-realist style as a base for his exploration of
cinematic form. In The Grim Reaper Bertolucci uses the boys
of the Roman subproletariat, whom he called “the children of
life,” to paint a picture of Rome. This characterization is
also akin to Pasolini’s early films, Accattone and Mamma
, both of which dealt with the struggles of the underclass in Rome.

The Grim Reaper is Bertolucci’s first feature length film and
it opens with a long tracking shot which comes to rest on the
image of a dead woman laying in the grass next to a bridge.
The rest of the film is spent piecing together the events that
lead up to the murder. Like Kurosawa’s Rashomon, the story is
founded on the investigation of a murder and is broken into
successive narrative blocks which establish a non-linear plot
similar to Bertolucci’s later film The Conformist. Through
police interrogations, the audience is introduced to five
characters who crossed paths with the woman on the evening of
the murder. As they tell their respective stories to the police,
most of which are lies, we see what actually occurred through a
series of flashbacks. There is a rain storm during the afternoon
of the murder which is seen in each of the characters stories.
During each rain sequence Bertolucci cuts away from the suspects
stories to show the woman, a prostitute, in her home preparing for
her night’s work. It is the eerie, premonitory rain sequences
which fix the element of time in this non-linear narrative.

In The Grim Reaper, Bertolucci makes an artistic switch to a more
modernistic form of cinema. Using techniques such as montage, deep
focus, shadowing, long shots and camera movement, Bertolucci attempts
to make his films beautiful, not solely a vehicle for deeper
interpretation as was Pasolini’s style. Much like Godard, Bertolucci
preferred rapid cutting, which was seen as an attack upon classical
cinematic form. As Bertolucci’s first feature film, The Grim Reaper
shows little originality, having taken elements from Kurosawa, Godard,
Pasolini and the Italian neorealists. Despite its failure at the box
office, the film did bring Bertolucci recognition as a promising young

Sincerely, GRIM FILM – Hype Malaysia

As they would say so themselves, it all started with the love of transforming imagination into film. And some imagination they must have because the people behind GRIM FILM aka Pojoo Sim, Jared Lee, and Roy Ajong have landed themselves a sweet spot in the Top 10 BMW Shorties 2012 finalists. We hear it’s not their first time sitting in the midst of some of Malaysia’s most talented filmmakers either.

So, while we patiently await the gala awards night for this year’s BMW Shorties (slated to happen on Thursday, 20th December 2012), we stole Jared Lee away for a quick chat. Let’s find out what went on behind the production of the short film that has garnered so much love and attention, “Sincerely, The End“:

Hi Jared! Let’s talk a little bit about the short film. What was the thought process behind picking out the cast?

“My cinematographer thought that she (Marianne Tan) was pretty. Honest! And just so happens that my producer, Pojoo, was in her art group. So, we got in contact with her and we met her before deciding on casting her. It turns out that she’s one of the most serious and most hardworking cast member that I’ve ever had in my entire career of filmmaking.”

How did you and your team conceptualize “Sincerely, The End”? As in, what was the story line inspired by?

“First and foremost, we wanted to merge art and film. Because of that, we came up with the Post-its idea – and this was even before the concept of using helium balloons. We needed a ‘magic moment’. We were like, okay, there has to be a point where a ‘magic moment’ takes place which will make her change her mind about killing herself. There has to be a ‘magic moment’! Haha!”

We loved the location that you used though – it was perfect for the said, “magic moment”!

“Yes, the location was perfect. We spend time trying to recce for an abandoned building. And the scene in which the ‘magic moment’ was shot is located on the sixth floor of the abandoned building – if anyone fell down the gaping holes at the sides of the floor, he or she might die. Seriously.”

And while we’re still on the topic of the ‘magic moment’, here’s our burning question – how many helium balloons did you guys use for that one scene?

“Ah. The ‘magic moment’ scene was quite risky because it was all done in one take. We had about 800 helium balloons that came up to a sum of about RM2,500. That’s RM2,500 flying away, quite literally. Hence, we had to be very careful about the scene. And they made me call it while we were shooting it! It was really scary because we had to take so many things into consideration – the wind, especially. I had to keep ‘testing’ the wind with helium balloons.”

Oh, ouch. Now, how is that character at the end of the story (played by fellow Malaysian YouTuber Joseph Germani) related to Marianne’s character?


“Joseph’s character is basically someone else who committed suicide in the very same place, who understood what Marianne was going through, but was trying to stop Marianne from taking her own life. And once he was done. the Grim Reaper came to take him away, to ‘cross over’.”

Grim Reaper? Is that the same one that appeared in “The Visit”, the one featuring Malaysian beatboxer Shawn Lee?

“Yes! If you looked closely enough you’ll realize that it’s the same Grim Reaper. Alright, here’s the truth, I’ve actually been writing a web series centered around this concept. That will be released..hopefully by next year.”

Yes, we realized. And yes, a lot of your work are centered around the idea of death. Is that in any way related to any real life experiences?

“Hmm. We’ve always wanted a strong message at the end of our short films. Sorta like..’and the moral of the story is’ – but we didn’t want it to seem cheesy. The short films that we’ve produced aren’t directly related to our real life experiences per se but we’ve been getting a lot of feedback from our Facebook page and YouTube channel. People have been leaving comments to express their gratitude and thanks for our short films. I guess it’s safe to say that our short films have successfully reached out to people out there who are depressed and I’m glad we’ve helped them.”

[youtube id=”XVu-TYi–T4″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

Pray tell, how long did the pre-production, production, and post-production of “Sincerely, The End” take?

“I would say that among all the short films that we’ve worked on so far, this was definitely the toughest. The conceptualizing took us approximately one month, the pre-production went on for about two weeks, and the shoot took about two to three days – oh, we thought the shoot would take only about two days but the sun went down too quickly on the second day. So we had to go back again for the third day. And finally, the post-production..the editing process took the longest. We edited the video over and over and over for more than a week. Then we stopped. And then we went back into it, argued about it..we had so many versions! All I know is that we kept editing it.

But it was worth it though – BMW Shorties 2012 finalist and all. Alright, last one for the road!  If you were to win the 2013 BMW Shorties, what would you do with the RM75,000 grant?

“(pauses) I’ve got so many stories to tell, with too little budget. It’ll be great because we’ve been planning on doing so many things. For example, our feature film. It’s something that GRIM FILM has been wanting to work on for the longest time.”

You know what though, Jared? We’ve got our fingers (and toes) crossed for you! Thank you for taking time off to speak to us. And we’ll definitely see you at the 2012 BMW Shorties awards night 20th December 2012 (Thurday)!

For more information on the 2012 BMW Shorties Top 10 finalists, hit this up.

GRIM FILM OF WAR – The New York Times

A GERMAN critic, writing from Paris to the Vossische Zeitung of Berlin, gives a detailed description of the latest French war film, “Pour la Paix du Monde” (“For the Peace of the World”), reading, in part, as follows:”‘Les Gueules Cassées’ (The Broken Jaws), an organization of severely wounded French ex-service men, has brought out, with the support of the French Ministry of War, for the benefit of its treasury, a film that is running to full houses in Paris. “Here we see the naked truth. The reels that are running here cost the lives of four of the players and four others were badly injured during the production of the film. But here nearly everything is seen.”The advance of the troops and the unspeakable tortures of the trenches, cannon sinking in the mud and being hauled out by human animals, dizzying battles in the air, the fall of an airplane, villages shot to pieces, an operation in the hospital, fearful views of the fallen, and then—most striking of all—a patrol that rises out of the trenches, crawls up to a German outpost and returns with prisoners.”There was an oppressive silence in the room. Only once was there applause by a couple of women—when the French were bringing in the German prisoners. But when they saw the bodies later there was absolute stillness.”In the strange combination that seems to appeal to the French. ‘Chariot Soldat’ [Chaplin’s “Shoulder Arms”] was shown before the main film. No other actor would have dared make such mockery of the terrible as this genius has done. ” done.”THE public presentation of “The Big Parade,” which began recently in the Kurfuerstendamm Theatre, in Berlin, about four months after its private showing to an audience of newspaper men and theatrical luminaries, brought from the Berlin moving-picture critics virtually a repetition of their comments of last June. Writing in the Vossische Zeitung, Heinz Pol said, in part:”Propaganda should be made for ‘Die Grosse Parade’ here in Germany so that all mothers, wives, sis-sisters and girl will see it. For it has a much more powerful effect than all the peace congresses, meetings and resolutions ever can have. This was proved by the many eyes being hastily and somewhat shame-facedly dried by the audience at the end of the film before the lights were again turned on.”The reviewer of the Berlin Vorwaerts refers to the film as “the most powerful and gripping war picture seen thus far,” and avers that it “destroys once and for all the heroic legend of war; it shows war in its real repulsiveness and inhumanity and from pure sentiment calls upon men to cease butchering each other. “Both reviewers emphasized the technical excellence of the film and the worth of the actors.

90,000 15 heavy films that cannot be watched twice – What to see

If you are fed up with action films, you are tired of comedies, and thrillers are no longer frightening as before, we suggest you dilute your insipid movie evening with a couple of heartbreaking dramas that will leave a mark on your heart and memory for a long time.

Slot Machine SARL

Fleeing from the persecution of gangsters, a young girl Grace finds herself in the small town of Dogville, hidden in the mountains.Residents agree to hide the fugitive only if she will do all the work for them. The girl happily agrees. Over time, the tasks become more and more humiliating, and as a result, the girl becomes a local outcast, who insult, humiliate, beat and even rape everyone.

12 years of slavery
Plan B Entertainment

Arriving for a promising interview, Solomon Northhal, a once respected and educated black man, becomes first the victim of a kidnapping and then a powerless slave for 12 long years.

Something is wrong with Kevin
BBC Films

Having given birth to a son, Eva immediately realized that Kevin was an unusual child. Closed, uncommunicative, aggressive, disobedient, he drove her crazy, but it seems that no one except her noticed that something was wrong with the boy. Years later, Kevin will commit a terrible crime, but is it Eve’s fault? Could she stop him?

Monster Newmarket Films

Homeless prostitute Eileen meets cute lesbian Selby in a bar.The girls fall in love, and Wuornos, inspired by the idea of ​​a new, happy life with his soul mate, decides to end an unsightly past, find a home and a stable income, but no one wants to hire an unsightly-looking prostitute.

American History X
New Line Cinema

Derek, a former Nazi and leader of a local skinhead gang, is released after three years in prison. During this time, he thought about a lot and realized that his youthful views were too radical, and that he no longer wanted to get involved with Nazism. But when he gets home, he finds out that his younger brother Danny wasted no time and actually took the place of his brother in the gang.

Lost flight
Universal Pictures

A provocative drama about the events unfolding on the 93rd United Airlines flight, which was hijacked by terrorists and sent to the White House on September 11, 2001.

Boys do not Cry
Fox Searchlight

Newcomer Brandon Tina appears in a quiet town in Nebraska, who immediately drives all the local girls crazy. Over time, it becomes clear that the girl Tina desperately wants to be a man, but so far she has no money for the operation. One wrong thing to do reveals Brandon’s secret. The local guys didn’t like this dandy anyway, and they didn’t intend to share their girls with some girl in jeans.

Requiem for a Dream Artisan Entertainment

The three main characters strive to fulfill their dream: the drug addict Gary – to open a fashion store, Gary’s girlfriend, also a drug addict, Marion – to become a clothing designer, and Sarah, Gary’s elderly mother, – to lose weight and become an invited guest of her favorite show. But in an attempt to achieve what they want, heroes are increasingly bogged down in their addictions.

Schindler’s List Universal Pictures

Another picture based on real events.During World War II, successful businessman Oskar Schindler, risking his wealth and life, saved more than a thousand Jews with the help of a fake and incredibly huge list of his “workers” who must avoid falling into Auschwitz.

Sophie’s Choice Keith Barish Productions

The young writer moves to a new home and immediately meets his neighbors – a charming and passionate couple, Nathan and Sophie. Later it turns out that the relationship between them is not going so smoothly – the young man often loses his temper and beats his girlfriend, who is humiliated and seems to be living with her past. The main reason for the scandals is the secret of the survival of Sophie, the former prisoner of Auschwitz.

Dancer in the dark

Canal +

Selma has fun – she closes her eyes and imagines the world around her as a continuous musical full of songs, colors and happiness.On the other side of this “world” is a blurred reality in which she is forced to work for wear and tear in order to save money for an operation for her little son.

Firefly Grave Studio Ghibli

Japan, end of World War II. Siblings Seita, the elder, and Setsuko, the younger, who lost their homes and parents in the war, are forced to wander the country and survive on their own.

Hunting Lane Films

The fleeting love of Cindy and Dean quickly grew into a passionate romance and, it seemed, a happy marriage.But five years pass, and the relationship between the spouses becomes more and more strained – the couple has long been mired in everyday life, raising a daughter turns into a struggle for superiority, and omissions and reproaches more and more often suggest that this union was not worth starting.

Irreversibility StudioCanal

This picture is interesting not only for the plot, but also for the reverse narration. From the very beginning of the film, we learn that for the heroine this night will end with rape and coma.But the viewer only has to see what caused these horrors.

Passion of Christ

Icon Productions LLC

A bold and rather detailed variation on the events of the last hours of Jesus’ life, according to director Mel Gibson. The director himself spoke about his picture:

“This is a film about love, hope, faith and forgiveness. He died for all mankind, suffered for all of us. Now is the time to get back to this main message.World has gone mad. We could all feel a little more love, faith, hope and forgiveness. ”

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Films that addictive from the first minute and do not release until the last


Matthew McConaughey in this film plays the role of a test pilot who is sent to another galaxy through a wormhole.He leaves behind the Earth choking with dust storms and children, who will probably grow up faster than he can return. The shocking story of Christopher Nolan – one of the most extraordinary directors of our time – is based on the real work of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne.


Ryan Johnson brought together Hollywood stars in his film, and entrusted the leading role to Daniel “James Bond” Craig. In the center of the plot is the story of one mysterious death that took place in the old mansion of the author of detective stories. He died himself. Someone from a large family of a popular author reported the incident to the police, and also ordered an investigation of this case to a private detective Benoit Blanc. The suspects are all heroes of the film, but the name of the killer will be announced in the very end.


Martin Scorsese’s film starring Leonardo DiCaprio – what could be better? DiCaprio plays an American marshal who has arrived on the island where the mental hospital is located.A detective plot, well-developed characters and an unexpected outcome will make you “stick” in front of the TV screen.


This dark intellectual thriller by David Fincher is based on the book of the same name by writer Stig Larsson (which actually literally translates as Men Who Hate Women). Fincher completely reimagined the story of the novel, turning it from a detective to a tense thriller. The narrative is structured in such a way that from the beginning of the film to the end, the tension will build up, in order to then bring down the name of the bloodthirsty maniac killer on the viewer.


A screen adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name, starring Tom Cruise, is based on the well-known film Groundhog Day. The events of the “Edge of the Future” unfold, surprisingly, in the near future. Aliens with the ability to “reset” the day are attacking the Earth.By killing one of them in battle, the character of Cruise gets the opportunity to live the same day over and over again, which in the long term can help him win such a long-awaited victory over the enemy, who practically exterminated humanity.


Movie puzzle. In the center of the plot is the story of a team of magicians-illusionists, who called themselves the Four Horsemen. Mysterious someone gathers them together to accomplish the destined – to wipe the nose of Interpol and the FBI. Carrying out one large-scale performance after another, they gradually approach the goal, but agents hang on their tail, who are about to find out their main secret.


Australian Hugh Jackman in this film appears to the audience in the form of a talented young magician Robert Engier, ready to go to any lengths to beat his former colleague, and now rival – Alfred Borden. As is often the case between illusionists, over time, comic rivalry develops into a real war.Jackman’s co-star in the film is Christian Bale.


Writer Drew Goddard, responsible for films such as The Martian, Nothing Good at El Royale, World War Z and Lost, directed the horror comedy Cabin in the Woods in 2011. , telling about a trip of friends to a forest hut, located far from civilization. There they find an ancient book of spells. After reading one of them, the students unleash an army of bloodthirsty zombies … But what is happening is only at first glance what it seems.


What would you do if you were in a wooden box buried in an unknown place? Ryan Reynolds’s hero, waking up locked up, tries to call for help, but no one hears his screams, and the phone that the kidnappers put with him in this coffin is practically empty. The most important thing in this situation is not to lose your composure, then, perhaps, you can wait for help.


Tangled to the brim, Christopher Nolan’s film is about extraction specialists. Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is just such a person: he trades in stealing valuable secrets from the depths of the subconscious. Most often, these services are used by the owners of large corporations who want to find out the secrets of competitors. Cobb’s next order is not like his previous work – he has not to extract an idea, but, on the contrary, to introduce it into the subconscious.


Atmospheric and one of the most unusual thrillers by director M. Night Shyamalan. The film is set in the village of Covington, Pennsylvania. There is a forest around it, in which, as the locals say, there are strange and dangerous creatures with long claws – Those whose name we do not name. A treaty has been made with the creatures, according to which the villagers do not go into the forest, and the creatures do not enter the village. One of the villagers – the young man Lucius Hunt – is by nature very curious, and at some point he violates the established border …


Another film based on an idea from the Groundhog Day melodrama. Sergeant Coulter Stevens wakes up in a moving train, however, now he is a completely different person who died as a result of a catastrophe that happened once. Once trapped, he will have to relive the explosion of the train over and over again – until he identifies the terrorist who planted the bomb.


JJ Abrams’s production project is a found video genre.New York is attacked by something – a giant creature that destroys everything around. Hundreds of people die. What to do? Get out, of course, but instead the main characters go to the other end of the city to rescue the trapped girl. The camera shaking in the hands of the characters creates the maximum effect of presence – it’s a pity that the film was not filmed in 3D.

90,000 The mysterious universe of David Lynch. Dedicated to the director’s 75th birthday

  • Alexander Kahn
  • Cultural Observer

Photo Credit, Getty Images

On January 20, David Lynch turns 75, a filmmaker whose very name has become synonymous with weird, bizarre, surreal cinema.At first, the favorite of fans of the avant-garde art house, over time, Lynch, without sacrificing one iota in his unique inimitable style, turned into a world-renowned artist.

David Lynch … There is so much behind this name . .. The whole world, a huge, unique universe: films, very different, but all “Lynchian”; music – both the one that he saturated his films, making it instantly recognizable “Lynchian”, and his own musical experiments – audacious, not as universally accepted and recognized as cinema, but expanding the understanding of his world; and his visual art – as bizarre and surreal as films, but outstanding for an artist who has gone through a professional school – not so much in a student-like realistic drawing, as in the original vision of a mature master; and a hypnotic, unsmiling appearance – at first glance, stern, but in fact sly, often, however, hidden behind dark glasses, a shock of gray hair invariably directed upwards; and a carefully built image – on the one hand, isolation, closeness and mystery, on the other – constant media appearances, forcing fans to be in continuous expectation of something completely new, but in the old way, invariably excitingly interesting.

How to start talking about Lynch? Eyes run up . ..

“Blue Velvet”

My acquaintance with David Lynch (not with Lynch himself, alas, but with his work) began 35 years ago, in 1986, when my American friend, who lived in Leningrad, invited a small group of lovers of unusual cinema at home to watch the film “Blue Velvet”, which has just been released and brought from America on a videotape. Neither I, nor my friends in St. Petersburg, film fans, had the slightest idea of ​​who Lynch was at that time – VCRs were a colossal luxury that none of us had yet available.And our American friend seemed to know little more. But behind the unknown film there was already a reputation pretending to be a legend: the mysterious “blue velvet” of the title, behind which hid an alluring, slightly perverted eroticism; the names of the actors – Dennis Hopper, a semi-mythical “light-hearted rider” from the biblical hippist counterculture, but we have not yet seen the film of the same name in 1969, and Isabella Rossellini – the daughter of two great classics of world cinema – Italian director Roberto Rossellini and Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman; and some, as the rumors had it, a strange, twisted plot.

Photo author, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group / Sunset Boulevard

Photo caption,

Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet

The film did not live up to expectations, it exceeded all expectations. The story of a modest student who returned to his provincial town and stumbled upon a severed human ear on its street, which, together with irrepressible curiosity, plunged him into the secret surreal world of sadomasochism and sexual slavery with the fatal beauty Rossellini and the sadistic gangster Hopper.But much more impressive than the macabre plot was the absolutely incredible audiovisual structure of the film – the symbolism of decay and decay, the color-transformed aesthetics of the classic American “noir” with its bizarre, mysterious play of light and shadow, unnaturally thick, saturated color, decadent salon pop pulled out Lynch from the distant 1963 and the title of the film Blue Velvet performed by Bobby Winton, the no less decadent song In Dreams by Roy Orbison and next to them – the magnificent orchestral score of Angelo Badalamenti, inspired by Shostakovich, whose 15th symphony Lynch continuously listened to when I wrote the script.

Underground: Eraser Head and Elephant Man

Lynch instantly became a hero and idol, and the fast-moving era of video has revealed his earlier films. The very first – black-and-white surrealist-experimental body-horror “Eraserhead” from 1977, inspired by its classic predecessors in literature – “The Transformation” by Kafka and “Nose” by Gogol, and in cinema – “Andalusian Dog” and “Golden Age” Buñuel.

Photo author, LMPC

Photo caption,

Poster for the film “Eraser Head”.Starring – Jack Nance

And the second, also black-and-white Gothic “Elephant Man” of 1980 – immersed in the gloomy Victorian England of the late 19th century, the film adaptation of the true story of the monstrously deformed Joseph Merrick described by the British surgeon Frederick Treves, which Trives discovered in as an exhibit at one of the most popular freaks fair in those days.

Photo author, Images Press / Getty Images

Photo caption,

John Hurt as Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man

Eraser Head remained firmly in the well-developed American cinema of the 1960s and 70s years of the underground, turning into one of the classic examples of the so-called “midnight cinema” – films that were shown at night sessions in cinemas in bohemian districts of large cities for bohemian and artistic youth thirsty for shocking experiments.

Nevertheless, he did not go unnoticed in professional circles, and the reputation earned by Lynch, albeit a scandalous, but a rather loud reputation allowed him to collect a real actor’s constellation in “The Elephant Man”: John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, John Gielgud, Anne Bancroft …

The growing skill of the director, the stars in the lead roles and – not least – even hidden behind the gloomy appearance of the film, but still its obvious humanistic orientation, attracted the attention of the Academy.A modest picture of an almost aspiring director collected eight Oscar nominations – including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director, none of which, however, were ever made into a golden statuette.

Lynch remained on the periphery of the mainstream of American cinema, recognized and known not so much to the general public as to critics and the professional film community.

Road to the Mainstream

Evidence of this recognition came in 1980, following the success of The Elephant Man, with an offer from George Lucas to direct Return of the Jedi, the third film in the Star Wars saga.Lynch refused, but Lucas sowed the virus of space fantasy and the alluring prospect of a colossal commercial success associated with the genre, and in 1981, at the suggestion of the famous Italian film mogul Dino de Laurentiis, he began work on the adaptation of the fantasy novel written in 1965 and referred to the distant future “Dune” by the American writer Frank Herbert.

“Dune” has a complicated film fate. Back in 1974, the film based on the novel was supposed to be filmed by the cult Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorovski, known for his surrealist-psychedelic films The Mole and The Sacred Mountain, shot in the early 1970s.Its 14-hour adaptation was to star Salvador Dali, Orson Wells, Mick Jagger, Geraldine Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Alain Delon and Amanda Lear. The music was to be done by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pink Floyd and avant-garde rock artists Henry Cow and Magma. Due to various reasons, mainly organizational and financial inadequacy, the project did not take place, with which Jodorowski cannot reconcile to this day, considering this the main tragedy of his life. This unfinished film is one of the legends of world cinema, and in 2013 the full-length documentary “Jodorovsky’s Dune” was dedicated to it.

Against the background of such a grandiose plan of its predecessor, Lynch’s picture, although made quite adequately according to the laws of the space fantasy genre, clearly faded. She had no success either with the viewer or with critics, today it is almost forgotten as one of the weakest works of Lynch. And most importantly, in this film the director departed from his own individual style and cinematic language, which was found in the first two films and so successfully developed in subsequent ones. This is the most “non-lynch” film from Lynch’s films, and perhaps the main thing that he is remembered for today is that Kyle McLachlan made his film debut in it, in the future Lynch’s mascot is Jeffrey in “Blue Velvet” and, most importantly, agent Dale Cooper in “Twin Peaks” “.Of the major stars, he managed to attract only for the supporting roles of Sting and Max von Sydow.

Since we are talking about “Dune”, it should be noted that in this year, 2021, a new adaptation of the novel is expected, made by the author of “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049” Denis Villeneuve and in which Timothy Chalamet, Oscar starred Isaac, Charlotte Rampling and Javier Bardem.

Photo author, Sygma / Getty Images

Photo caption,

Sting as Feid Raut-Harkonnen in Dune

Blue Velvet brought full-fledged success.Today it is a recognized masterpiece, a classic, signature Lynch-style film, one of the highest achievements of American cinema of the second half of the 20th century. And yet – he formed a close circle for many years collaborating with Lynch like-minded people who perfectly fit into his aesthetics, if not defining it – the actors Kyle McLachlan and Laura Dern and the composer Angelo Badalamenti.

Success has already been achieved not only among experts, critics and professionals, but also among the general public. Although again, as with “The Elephant Man”, numerous Oscar nominations, including for the best director, did not lead to the award itself.True, Woody Allen, whose “Hannah and Her Sisters” was nominated for Best Picture that year, named “Blue Velvet” his favorite film of the year.

Twin Peaks

Blue Velvet has firmly and irreversibly established David Lynch in the mainstream of American cinema, not only as a master director, but also as unique, with his own creative face and artist’s handwriting. Therefore, his sudden turn to television at the turn of the 1980s and 90s seemed strange and illogical.Now, in the era of digital television, serials have turned into a serious art, into a “new novel”, which the most famous filmmakers are not only ready, but eager to do. At the same time, the television series was a low genre, almost the only form of which was the despicable “soap operas”, so named because they were broadcast in the daytime, intended mainly for housewives and were saturated with ads for detergents, that is, “soaps.”

Not surprisingly, Lynch’s first reaction, when his agent Tony Krantz approached him with the idea of ​​the TV series, was quite categorical: “No, I don’t want to do a TV show!” Krantz, however, was insistent: “You have to show the real America, your vision of America, as you saw it in Blue Velvet.Lynch by that time was friendly and closely communicated with the writer and screenwriter Mark Frost, with whom he developed the unrealized project “Goddess” about Marilyn Monroe. Neither Lynch nor Frost was very enthusiastic about Krantz’s venture, but eventually succumbed to persuasion. “We will tell a Dickensian-style story about many intertwined destinies.

Photo by FilmMagic, Inc


David Lynch and Mark Frost at a press conference on the airing of the pilot episode of Twin Peaks.August 20, 1990, Los Angeles

First, the fictional town of Twin Peaks was conceived and carefully planned – a more or less detailed map of the sawmill was drawn. “We knew exactly where everything was, and this helped us create the right atmosphere and understand where what would happen,” Lynch later recalled. Then people began to inhabit the city, and its first “inhabitant” was a corpse – the body of a murdered girl taken to the shore of the lake. “We needed at first glance the most ordinary girl from a provincial town, but who actually leads a desperate double life, which ends with her murder,” said Frost.Gradually, a form crystallized – an unprecedented hybrid of a police investigation and a soap opera.

For the main roles, Lynch invited his tried-and-true favorites: Jack Nance, who starred in Eraser Man, Everett McGill, who starred in Dune, and of course Kyle McLachlan for the role of FBI agent Dale Cooper.

However, the experts were critical: “I don’t think this series has any chance of success. It is completely non-commercial, in the most radical way different from what the audience is used to, none of the characters evokes sympathy.And in the broadcasting grid, it coincides in time with the super popular sitcom Cheers “, – the authoritative media analyst Paul Schumann categorically predicted before the broadcast.

As a result, the first season received the highest ratings, 14 nominations for the TV Emmy Award, including main – for best series, best male and female role

“Twin Peaks” became a global media phenomenon, and for a while, looking at the pages of newspapers, it seemed that the sacramental question “Who killed Laura Palmer?” if not more real political unrest.An unsolved (unsolvable?) Mystery was the main intrigue and the main engine of the whole action, but ABC, worried about the decline in ratings in the second season, forced Lynch and Frost to reveal the name of the killer – a decision that Lynch made extremely reluctant, and which he still considers one of the biggest professional mistakes of his life.

A brilliantly woven web of complex and often perverse character relationships against the background of an ideally quiet and peaceful provincial town unfolded – as Krantz originally intended and Lynch brilliantly implemented – in the decadently whimsical Blue Velvet style, with sharp changes in color, light and shadow. with nightmarish visions of Agent Cooper and with a hypnotically ominous soundtrack – music and songs by Angelo Badalamenti, the lyrics for which were written by Lynch himself, and which singer Julia Cruz sang with her angelic voice.

Photo by JB Lacroix / WireImage


Kyle McLachlan and David Lynch at the premiere of Twin Peaks Season 3 on May 19, 2017 in Los Angeles

Lynch, who only directed the first six episodes, but nevertheless, he continued to exercise control over the second season, thanks to the series, he became a real star. In the minds of many, it is “Twin Peaks” with all its numerous television, cinematic and even literary offshoots that is primarily associated with the name of the director.

The influence of “Twin Peaks” on the subsequent development of the genre can hardly be overestimated. “Looking at today’s television series, it is impossible not to see in so many of them the creative vision and handwriting drawn from Twin Peaks,” wrote television critic Mike Mariani already in 2016. “Masterful manipulation of the supernatural, surreal nonsense, black humor, sinister assaults cameras – all of these proprietary Lynch tricks are noticeably tangible in a variety of popular TV shows today. ”

Between the avant-garde and simple stories

While working on Twin Peaks, Lynch’s buddy director and producer Monty Montgomery invited Lynch to become a producer in his planned adaptation of Barry Guilford’s 1990 crime novel Wild at Heart.”What if I also like the book and want to put it on my own?” Lynch asked. “Well, well, if so, then so be it,” Montgomery replied.

And so it happened. “Wild at Heart” was another step of Lynch in the direction of the most that neither is Hollywood mainstream – a dizzying crime drama with murders, robberies, pursuits and sex. Starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, who has become a permanent Lynch actress. The film was replete with Lynch’s characteristic postmodern detachment, black humor and a soundtrack in which Badalamenti’s music punctuated – as in Blue Velvet – pop classics from the previous era, this time with sentimental Elvis Presley ballads.However, it did not have that enchanting mystical otherworldly, which so clearly distinguished both “Blue Velvet” and “Twin Peaks”, and has already become a trademark of David Lynch’s style. Nevertheless, at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990, the picture received the Palme d’Or.

So – in throwing between the mainstream and the avant-garde, between more or less clear cinematic narration and incredible, to the point of indistinctness, plot and event twist and detachment from all reality – and the next decade passed in the work of Lynch.

“Lost Highway” (1997), “Mulholland Drive” (2001) and “Inland Empire” (2006) were ranked in the second category. Sitting in the cinema hall, you were immersed in a series of superbly filmed images and scenes that were successive to each other and mesmerizing in their exquisite cinematography. But, the further, the more annoying it became the impossibility of catching not only the event-plot line of what was happening on the screen, but even the vague, albeit ambiguous, meaning of the film. The mysterious otherworldliness, so attractive as a means of visual, aesthetic enrichment of the stories told by the director in Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, gradually became an end in itself, aesthetics suppressed and absorbed history, cinema turned into a slow flow of exquisitely beautiful, but obscure scenes.

A stark contrast against this background stood out the “Simple History” (1999), which wedged into this aesthetic stream. The title is a deliberate, tantalizing ambiguity. The surname of the main character of the picture is Alvin Straight (Straight) means “straight, simple”. This is exactly – uncomplicatedly simple and straightforward – and the story of the journey of an old sick man looked like to say goodbye to his stroke-stricken brother, with whom they once had a mortal quarrel and had not seen for many years. He can no longer get behind the wheel and therefore travels hundreds of miles from Iowa to Wisconsin across several states on … a lawn mower.

Photo author, Sygma / Getty Images

Photo caption,

On the set of “A Simple Story”. Lynch, starring Richard Farnsworth

I remember sitting in the cinema and watching this very human and touching story, I could not believe my eyes. What is it? The same Lynch – a mystic, decadent and esthete? And yet it was Lynch who was hiding in this sudden and precisely thought-out move. The story itself – by the way, not fictional, but completely real – the story of a deep old man who, because of the suddenly awakened humanity in him, decided to go hundreds of miles in a vehicle that was designed to travel around the yard, looked so absurdly surreal that already was absolutely “Lynchian”.She no longer needed any stylistic and aesthetic tricks. Well, at the same time, the clever Lynch, of course, played. I deliberately played with the ideas about him that had developed in our minds, and this was a challenge no less daring and no less significant than his most radical film experiments.

Music, painting, transcendental meditation

While working on Twin Peaks, Lynch and Badalamenti staged a musical theater performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music – one of the most prestigious and new art-oriented stages in New York Industrial Symphony No. 1: A Dream of Broken Hearts “with Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern and the songs of Badalamente performed by Julia Cruz.

Photo author, Redferns

Photo caption,

Julie Cruz sings at the sixth annual Twin Peaks festival in London. October 3, 2015

This project – the follow-up to several video clips that he filmed for songs by other artists – was the impetus, the starting point for Lynch’s work on music. At first, together with Badalamenti, he composed music for his films, then he began to record his own singles and albums in the genre of experimental rock. Lynch’s musical work, albeit not as bright and widely known as his films, is nevertheless very interesting and deserves a separate story.

The same can be said about painting, or more broadly, the visual art of David Lynch. As you know, he devoted all his youth to the study of fine arts and came to the cinema much later. Like music, the visual arts of Lynch are an independent area of ​​work of this remarkable artist that deserves a separate detailed story. John Nguyen’s full-length documentary David Lynch: A Life in Art, released in 2016, is dedicated to her.

Finally, it is impossible to pass over in silence another passion of David Lynch – transcendental meditation.He became interested in her thanks to his acquaintance with the Indian preacher and guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi gained worldwide fame after the Beatles with their wives, girlfriends and friends went to his retreat in India in 1968. The stay did not end very successfully – Maharishi wanted to get from the Beatles almost a third of the income from the sale of their next album, the songs for which were written in India, was convicted of molesting young women in the company of musicians, among whom was a famous role in In the film “Rosemary’s Baby”, 23-year-old actress Mia Farrow has just divorced from Frank Sinatra and future wife of Woody Allen.Returning from India, the Beatles called the alliance with the Maharishi a mistake, and the song Sexy Sadie, included in the White Album, became a thinly veiled, but no less harsh attack by Lennon against the guru.

All this did not stop Lynch. He not only supports the activities of the Maharishi himself and his followers (the guru himself died in 2008) with large financial donations, but also takes an active part in all sorts of their actions. He wrote the book Catching the Big Fish on meditation and created the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness Education and Peace, which aims to introduce transcendental meditation into the school system in the United States and around the world.And in 2009, under the auspices of the Foundation, a grandiose charity concert was held in New York, to which, along with other stars, Lynch managed to attract Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who, forgetting about half a century of their assessments of the Maharishi, sang transcendental meditation.

Photo by, WireImage / David Lynch Foundation

Photo caption,

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and David Lynch at the David Lynch Foundation press conference. New York? April 3, 2009

I must say that this hobby of Lynch disappoints many of his fans.Characteristic in this sense is the feature-length documentary “David Wants to Fly”, filmed in 2010 by the German filmmaker David Sieveking. Lynch for Sieveking was an idol, hero and role model. Carried away after him by transcendental meditation, he followed Lynch and in his footsteps to all its main centers – from closed camps in America to the origins of the Ganges in India. The result of his research is rather depressing: transcendental meditation is something like Scientology, a closed half-religion-half-sect, shamelessly siphoning huge amounts of money from those who sincerely believe in it, including David Lynch.

What’s next?

Released in 2006, “Inland Empire” is David Lynch’s last feature film to date. Since then, he announced his complete retirement from the cinema, then returned, releasing the third season of Twin Peaks with Mark Frost in 2017.

All these years he has been actively making music, arranging exhibitions, shooting videos and short films.

Every day he airs on his YouTube channel with the so-called “Weather Briefs”.Looking out the window of his Los Angeles home, he reports temperatures in Fahrenheit and Celsius, talks about his mood, and shares some thought or observation – all together for a minute or a half.

Rumors circulated last fall that Lynch had signed a contract with Netflix to produce the 13-episode series “Wisteria” and that filming would begin in the spring of 2021. To what extent these rumors are true, and what the new film will be about – if any – no one knows yet.

David Lynch continues to ask riddles.

Gloomy Mads Mikkelsen and the colorful “The Little Humpbacked Horse”: what to watch in the movies

This week the bright fairy tale “The Little Humpbacked Horse” by Pyotr Ershov, a dark Christmas film with Mads Mikkelsen in an unusual role, bright horror with Chloe Grace Moretz, a remastered version of Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible, a comedy thriller with Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage, and a comedy with Dmitry Nagiyev.

“Little Humpbacked Horse”

The incredibly successful continuation of the film “The Last Bogatyr” has not yet died down to the end, as the Russian viewers are given a new opportunity to escape from the endless winter – in the fairy tale “The Little Humpbacked Horse” based on the work of the same name by Peter Ershov.The main film storyteller of the country Sergei Selyanov and director Oleg Pogodin are responsible for the film.

Still from the movie “The Little Humpbacked Horse”

© Sony pictures production

The plot of the picture is a free retelling of the adventures known to all. Ivan the Fool performed by Anton Shagin finds himself an irreplaceable assistant – the Little Humpbacked Horse (although a character drawn, but played and voiced by Pavel Derevyanko). Together they enter the service of the tyrant Tsar (Mikhail Efremov), who, incited by the cunning Spalnik (Yan Tsapnik), gives Ivan more and more difficult tasks.

After the trailer for the film appeared, many began to compare it with “Shrek”: an unprepossessing horse looks like a donkey, and the main task of the heroes to find the Princess to marry the Tsar painfully resembles the plot of the famous cartoon. But the rich fairy-tale world of Ershov and the incredible costumes created by Nadezhda Vasilyeva made the picture bright and original. Even with a touch of topicality. I also had to sweat over the special effects: the picture was filmed entirely in the pavilion, and according to producer Alexander Gorokhov, it contains 95%, or even 99% of computer graphics.That is, almost not a single shot was done without her.

As director Oleg Pogodin noted, the film is distinguished from the original not only by the prosaic form instead of the poetic one, but also by the focus of the story: “Some collisions of the literary original have been replaced because we tried to set the whole story in a slightly different direction. Ershov’s tale is more about the friendship of Ivan and Kon’k. We have all this, of course, remained, but plus the line of Ivan’s love for the Tsar Maiden has become much larger. Our cinema is about friendship and love. “

Knights of Justice

The film by Danish Anders Thomas Jensen, on the one hand, is a little late with the release time, on the other hand, it is ideal for those who miss Christmas and New Year. True, “Knights of Justice”, with all the desire, can not be called a traditional Christmas movie. The director, in his trademark nihilistic manner, says that there is no justice, life is chaotic and random, and evil is not always what it seems.

Still from the film “Knights of Justice”

© Capella film

The audience’s favorite Mads Mikkelsen appears in an unusual role for himself.He plays the stern and taciturn military man Marcus, who loses his wife in a train accident. And maybe this tragedy is not just an accident. At least that’s what mathematician Otto says. Together with his friends, two failed hackers, he invites Marcus to take revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife. But this whole venture needs to be somehow hidden from Markus’s daughter, who is trying to send her father to psychotherapy. As a result, all together they turn into an unusual dysfunctional family, and living together teaches the heroes patience and mutual understanding.

Despite the gloom and a fair amount of black humor, Jensen’s message is very Christmas: when everything around loses its meaning, the last hope of people is in love for their neighbor, and, of course, in humor. The director is sure that irony towards himself and what is happening always saves

“Air Combat”

New Zealand director of Chinese origin Rosanna Liang filmed a stylish horror film set in the surroundings of World War II, which is almost entirely based on one actress – Chloe Grace Moretz.

Still from the film “Air Battle”

© Exhibitor Film

At the height of the war, Captain Maud Gardner boarding a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber with a secret cargo. The all-male team does not take Gardner or her mission seriously, and almost immediately sends the girl under the belly of the plane, closer to the machine guns. Every now and then the captain notices some strange movement in the clouds and tries to warn the crew about it. He, of course, does not believe an impressionable woman – and in vain.

Despite the fact that most of the film we only see Moretz in the frame, Liang, thanks to a good script and skill to create suspense, manages to keep the audience in constant tension. In the third act, she completely lets go of the reins and strikes into bloody uncontrollable fun. “Air Battle” is primarily an entertaining film, so you shouldn’t look for any deep meanings in it, they all lie on the surface. The secret of the secret cargo is also very easy to unravel. But it’s fun, bold and beautiful, and serves as yet another powerful proof that James Bond could easily be played by a woman.

“Irreversibility. Full inversion”

Gaspar Noe is never too much! This time the master and provocateur decided to turn his cult film “Irreversibility” upside down, or rather, on the contrary, from head to feet, and show it in chronological order.

“Irreversibility” is still almost the main horror story of the Cannes Film Festival, and perhaps only Lars von Trier can compete with Noé in the amount of shock content per frame. During the premiere of the picture at the show, half of the audience left, and a third became ill.But it would not be an exaggeration to say that this is exactly what the director wanted.

Still from the film “Irreversibility: Full Inversion”

© A-One

The original film consists of 13 episodes edited in reverse chronological order. After the girl (Monica Bellucci) is brutally attacked and raped in the transition, her current (Vincent Cassel) and former (Albert Dupontel) boyfriends decide to find the offender and take revenge on him. Noe leads viewers from terror to hope, confusing and making them wonder what the story really was.

You might think that the remastered version was made for those who did not understand anything, but in fact it can be perceived as a separate film. It is not for nothing that directors like to repeat that the creation of a film takes place on its editing, and completely different works can be edited from the same material. So it happened with “Irreversibility”. Thanks to the new chronology, the story and heroes are revealed from a different side, and emotions are experienced in a completely new way

Irreversible was a puzzle.Now it is a diptych, like on an old record: side B is a remix, less conceptual than the composition on side A, but with more distinct voices that give the words a semantic inevitability, “the director notes.


British director J. Blakeson shot a couple of mediocre studio thrillers and finally decided to do something of his own. Something of its own turned out to be a comedy thriller about greed.

Rosamund Pike plays the cold and calculating Marla Grayson, who exploits the shortcomings of the American social care system to her advantage.When elderly people can no longer take care of themselves, the state appoints a guardian for them, who has the right to dispose of the lives and property of their wards. Marla calculates profitable potential “clients” (or rather, hostages), sends them to a nursing home, and takes their money for herself.

Still from the movie “The Swindler”

© “Volga” Film Company

One of her victims is the exemplary and wealthy woman Jennifer (Dianne Wist), but the scheme of the swindler breaks down on her – her new ward has a powerful patron in the person of the Russian mafiosi Peter Dinklage.

“The Swindler” is a stylized crime film about who will outwit whom. Pike is perfect for this role – she’s not the first time playing cynical, independent women who are not used to wasting on trifles. We are immediately given to understand that the main character is not the most pleasant person who takes advantage of the weakness of the elderly, so, despite her intelligence, courage and strength, it is impossible to sympathize with her. When she meets Dinklage, the first worthy rival, a witty fight ensues between them.But at the same time in this struggle there is absolutely no one to empathize with. The film turns into a confrontation between two impartial people, whose place is behind bars, and its main moral is that the greedy capitalist system is worse than any old-regime mafia.

“Save Kolya!”

The director of the series “Fizruk” Dmitry Gubarev teamed up with Dmitry Nagiyev again to shoot a spiritually uplifting and not very tricky comedy for the Defender of the Fatherland Day.

Still from the movie “Save Kolya!”

© Disney

Nagiyev, to put it mildly, is not the first time to play characteristic characters – when you look at him you involuntarily recall all his heroes from the show “Beware, modern!”His character from “Save Kolya!” would fit in there too. Mikhail Ivanovich is a straightforward and strict head of the military registration and enlistment office, who likes everything to be “military-like and laconic.” He also laconically treats all potential suitors of his already matured daughter Masha, whom he raised alone. He sends all Masha’s boyfriends to military service in some remote corner of Russia. True, one day the daughter gets tired of it and she decides to blackmail. In addition to Nagiyev, the roles in the film were performed by Anna Rodonaya, Kuzma Saprykin, Ivan Zlobin, Nonna Grishaeva and Galina Polskikh.

Toms Chodov

“Wanderers of patience” open the first day of the festival “Double dv @” – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

“Wanderers of patience”. Dir. Vladimir Alenikov. Operator Alisher Khamidkhodjaev. Cast Konstantin Lavronenko, Maya Sopa, Alexander Rapoport. 99 minutes Main competition. 16+

We started the XII online festival with a psychological thriller that won the RG prize at the Amur Autumn festival in Blagoveshchensk. And a little earlier, at the Montreal World Film Festival, the prize for Best Actress was awarded to the 20-year-old Polish actress Maya Sopa, who played the beautiful Marina.

The director of the film “Wanderers of Patience” saw dozens of applicants for the role: he needed a “Martian”, a creature a little out of this world.

The film’s director Vladimir Alenikov is well known for such films as “The Adventures of Petrov and Vasechkin …”, “Feofania Painting Death”, “Bindyuzhnik and the King”. “Wanderers …” he shot based on his novel on the eternal theme of genius and villainy, of which surah grows the most beautiful of the flowers of art. The hero, the famous St. Petersburg photo artist Andrei, is preparing to surprise the Venice Biennale with new unusual creations.In the accidentally met deaf and dumb actress of the Perm theater “Gesture”, he sees fertile material for experiments. Andrei brings Marina to a country house by the lake and makes her a prisoner. A strange psychological game is going on: both feel an understandable attraction to each other, but for Andrey it sublimates in creativity, and for Marina it turns first into an agonizing expectation of the natural development of events, and then into a nightmare of a creature placed in a gilded cage. The heated artist is now completely at the mercy of his vague visions; in order to realize them, he subjects the victim to an almost sadistic test, controls her every action and deprives her of the opportunity to end the painful adventure.Conceptually important for the film, the conversation between the hero and his confessor will refer the events to the legend of Michelangelo, in the name of the greater veracity of the creation of the murdered model. Wandering in the circle of dark secrets of creativity is brought in the film to a state of almost Hitchcock suspense.

Here the genre chosen by the director itself leads him to insights, which can only be formulated in the language of art. The action of the thriller, as it were, naturally came to that extreme point, beyond which everything that happens becomes like madness.But it was in this borderline state that many masterpieces of painting, literature, and music were created: genius is always a deviation from the norm, sometimes catastrophic for the genius himself: behind a desperate duel in search of Truth, the shadows of Swift, Gogol, Kafka, Bosch, Van Gogh, Dali rise up …

And now one of these creative acts will unfold before your eyes – attractively strange, overly equipped with beauty and tenderness, so easily flowing into sadism. And it doesn’t matter that it is before us – an incredible, but obvious reality or a metaphor: the film has already given impetus to our hypotheses.It’s interesting to think about him.

It is also about the whims of love, about the unpredictable forms it can sublimate into. About the “Stockholm Syndrome” that so easily flows into passion. About self-sacrifice, which a loving woman is always ready to make. A whole complex of acute psychological states, which together constitute the mystery of creativity – a moment of absolute unconsciousness, which leaves behind such an artistic insight, over the mystery of which generations of connoisseurs will later fight.

The film was shot by an outstanding cameraman Alisher Khamidkhodjaev. Each frame is an example of the shimmering beauty that the hero strives for in his photographic canvases. In the role of Andrey Konstantin Lavronenko, the actor is always convincing, reliable in any context. Marina was played by a Warsaw actress, at that time a student Maya Sopa. The director watched dozens of applicants for the role: he needed a “Martian”, a being a little out of this world – the heroine is deaf and speechless, and the deaf and dumb live in their own universe, they always have a mystery.

“The Wanderers of Patience” is one of the rare successful examples of cinema touching unprovable hypotheses related to art. According to the director, the closest relatives of his film are “Black Swan” by Aronofsky and “Obsession” by Chazelle.

“Muse”. Dir. Peter Dranga. Cast Yevgeny Mironov, Anastavia Saltykova. Short film competition. 13 minutes

Evgeny Mironov came up with the idea for the film “The Muse”, he co-wrote the script and played the main role. Photo: provided by Festagent

The story was shot based on the idea and script by Yevgeny Mironov.He also played the main role of the famous cellist in the film, who survived psychological trauma and a serious creative crisis, did not appear in public for several years and now appears on stage, as if for the first time. Like an exam that will awaken painful memories and reveal a lot to the hero in himself. In the hall he sees his muse Svetlana.

As Evgeny Mironov jokingly admits on Facebook, in this film novel he made his debut playing the cello. In general, the film, which appeals to the emotional world of the hero, is permeated with music as the most emotional of the arts.Even, I think, she was born.

Its director Petr Dranga is a hereditary musician, a brilliant accordionist (he became a laureate of an accordion competition at the age of 12), a composer, creator of several rock bands, a laureate of international music competitions, his interests range from punk rock and grunge to classical music. Participant of such TV shows as “Dancing on Ice” and “Just Like”. In the cinema he began with several clips, starred in episodes. “Muse” is his feature film debut.

“Dark films are almost always better than melodramas” | Articles

Preparations have begun for the 72nd Cannes Film Festival in May.The selectors began to search for possible films – participants in one of the world’s major film forums. In 2018, the director Andrei Zvyagintsev, a repeated Cannes laureate, was a member of the festival jury, and the film “Summer” by Kirill Serebrennikov took part in the main competition. Joel Chapron, vice-director of Unifrance for Eastern European countries, who selects Russian films for the prestigious film forum, told Izvestia about Cannes preferences.

– Since the end of the previous festival, what trends have appeared and developed in Russian and world cinema?

– It’s hard to say what has changed.A year is not enough. I do not see much difference even between the trends of two or three years ago. I think the changes take longer. It seems to me that comparisons should be made every 10 years. During this period, a lot is happening in the world, and most importantly, the view of directors and screenwriters on the world is changing.

Now terrorism is a real scourge. In all likelihood, we will not be able to get rid of this horror for many years, and this is reflected in the content of the films. It is possible that a similar topic will arise more and more often, although it practically did not exist before.

Another example. About five years ago I saw so many Russian films on the topic of corruption that I could have made a whole festival of them. This does not mean that there is no corruption in France, but this topic is not as important there as it was five years ago in Russia. Both the writers and directors believed that this was close to them.

Now we are close to the topic of migrants, which, perhaps, does not interest Russians to such an extent. But it takes time for a new trend, a new topic to emerge. This happens gradually.Something happens in society over a fairly long period – and creativity begins to master a new topic, turn it into a product for cinema, television, theater, literature.

– At what stage is the selection of films for the 72nd festival now?

– While we are collecting information – who is filming, who has finished filming, who will be filming, who will most likely be ready and who is not. We need to imagine the starting situation – what we can count on.

– In connection with the current international situation in Russia, has something changed in the perception of its cinema?

The perception of the country is not very favorable right now, but fortunately, this does not touch upon the topic of cinema.Festivals take what they want. I suppose that someone did not like that we selected Serebrennikov’s Leto for the 71st Cannes Film Festival, but no one bothered us in that. We show French cinema in Russia, as we have shown before. There are no changes in this regard.

Still from the film “Summer” directed by Kirill Serebrennikov


– Is “Summer” really worthy for the Cannes Film Festival or did the political moment play a role?

Serebrennikov was not chosen because of his personal situation.If we like the film, we take it. If you don’t like it, we don’t take it. There were years when there were two films from Russia at the Cannes Film Festival, and years when there were none. For years the Germans took offense at us because there were no German films in the competition. But if the Cannes Film Festival believes that there are no good films from Germany, it is not because this is such a policy, but because the selectors did not find anything, in their opinion, interesting.

– Selectors or correspondents, in French teminology, are out of politics.And the jury? Are political solutions possible there?

– In the jury, everyone thinks as he wants. But a political decision cannot concern the entire jury. This is not possible, believe me. I was a translator on the jury last year (with Zvyagintsev), I sat at all the discussions. Actually, this is my seventh jury in Cannes. I translated German Sr., Churikova, Kaidanovsky …

Not a single political decision was made in my memory. When someone said: “You understand, it is still very important for Africa so that the name of the name gets a prize,” most often someone answered: “If this is important for Africa, then what will they say in India?” It is impossible to convince nine people that they should all vote under the influence of politics.

– Did the jury members explain to you why they didn’t notice “Summer”?

– Because they preferred other films. 20 films, seven prizes, still 13 films are left with nothing. Probably, what played against the film was the fact that many forgot what happened in the Soviet Union – how people lived, how they were not allowed to arrange such concerts, how it was all underground, difficult …

When the jury did not award the picture any award, it was necessary to simply look at the faces of film critics.They did not understand why “Leta” was not on the list of winners. This is a very unusual picture. Not a biopic, but a look at a similar story with very good actors.

Still from the film “Summer”


– At the end of November you hosted a round table at the Honfleur Russian Film Festival. The festival was dedicated to women in cinematography, and you noticed that some films would not have made it into the Cannes Film Festival program if they had not been directed by the fair sex.Are gender preferences still strong?

– Indeed, with regard to one or two films, the impression was created that someone tried to show: “Look, we also have a film of a woman director.” But when the painting isn’t worth it, it misses the mark. We already have a lot of bad films made by men. Why add to them a bad picture taken by a woman? There is no need to make sure that there are 50 “male” films and 50 “female” films. Quotas do not help at all in this regard.

– If the “third sex” is officially recognized, it will probably also be a question of a quota?

When it comes to creativity, do not pay attention to the first, second and third floor. As well as other conditions. At one time, the Cannes official selection refused to mention the countries: the catalogs do not say where the film came from – there are so many coproductions that you no longer understand where the roots are. The director is Norwegian, and the film was shot in English with Italian money. If a woman is a director and a screenwriter is a man, whose film? For me, this is a kit.The director as a conductor – he collected all the components. My position: I will not choose a picture just because it was shot by a woman.

Again, the emphasis on equality was needed. But now it is necessary to stop this wave. It is important that women study filmmaking in faculties, where they practically did not exist before, and about the same number as men. Look at how many women directors are studying at VGIK today. There is already parity there. Further we will look at the result. There are talented women, there are incompetent men – and vice versa.

– Are there any things in Russian cinema that you absolutely love?

– Yes. These are the actors. Russian actors are really highly regarded. There is a problem with scripting, but this is a common problem. Russian producers complain that there are plenty of bad scripts, few good ones. The French say the same thing. I won’t say what it is connected with, but it is.

The eternal question concerning Russian cinema: why sad dramatic films are often a cut higher in quality than comedies and light films. We are often accused of choosing only dark films, but they are almost always better than romantic films and melodramas. The impression is this: either they are filming gloomily, because they themselves look at life in this way, or they are filming comedies to amuse people who look at life very gloomily.

– What is meant by gloom? No happy ending?

– Not only. The very theme of the film is very often gloomy: someone gets sick, someone dies. I’m not even talking about how the picture ends, it’s just that the topic itself is quite difficult.

– Is Leviathan dark?

– Yes. And “Dislike” too.

Still from the film “Dislike” directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev


– But is this a very good movie?

– Of course. “Summer” somewhere in the middle is not a comedy, not a drama. You can also call Khlebnikov’s “Arrhythmia”. Only a few make a movie about life without any dark problems and not purely comedy. I watch a lot of films and see 12 such films a year.

– Was the situation the same in Soviet cinema?

– There is a lot of Soviet cinema, it is different depending on the periods.

– Do you have a favorite period?

– Probably the 1920s, when people were really looking. Kuleshov, Mayakovsky, Eisenstein, Shub, Preobrazhenskaya, Room … Their films are a unique phenomenon. People auditioned in all directions, and this freedom, I think, was the most interesting. Then – the thaw, this – “The Ballad of the Soldier”, “The Cranes Are Flying”, “Ilyich’s Outpost”, “Forty-first”, “The Soldier’s Father”.These films are still remembered.

It is a pity that they forgot “Clear Sky” by Grigory Chukhrai. A very important picture. A man is returning from the war, and everyone thought that he was dead. How does his wife treat him, what does the Communist Party do with him? If he comes back just now, where was he – in the camp with the Germans? Spy? A stunning picture on the subject …

Reference from Izvestia

After graduating from the Russian Faculty of the Sorbonne, Joel Chapron worked as a simultaneous interpreter. In 1995 he was appointed responsible for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the company Unifrance, which promotes French cinema abroad.Collaborates with the Cannes Film Festival, compiling a preliminary list of films from the countries of the former USSR and Eastern Europe for the selection committee. Author of books and articles on the history and theory of French and Russian cinema.


“Volga-Volga” Mamyshev-Monroe: an underestimated remake of the dark comedy

The deeper you dig into the analysis of this film, the more meaning – and, ultimately, genius is revealed in the outwardly stupid and mocking “Volga-Volga” 2006 with Mamyshev-Monroe.The authors of the remake, having reduced and re-dubbed Aleksandrov’s picture, and most importantly – replacing Lyubov Orlova with Monroe made up for it, brought the deep logic of the original to the limit and created a super-film that was not properly appreciated only due to a misunderstanding.

Although the tape was well received in Rotterdam, and was even awarded the Kandinsky Prize in Russia, this hardly increased its audience much. In general, many have heard about it, but hardly many have watched it – and yet it makes a very strong impression.

What is definitely not in the remake of Labazov and Sylvestrov is a mockery of the “classics”, in which, if you wish, you can suspect the film. On the contrary, the authors continue the semantic lines of the film in everything, including the Soviet tradition of torturing film material, which, in the case of Volga-Volga, did not end with a single rewriting of the script: the removal of individual scenes from the film continued until the 1960s.

At the same time, Labazov and Sylvestrov prophetically anticipate the hysteria of commercial remakes of Soviet cinema and its senseless coloring that came at the end of the 2000s.From this point of view, the colorization of Aleksandrov’s film in 2010 is logical and even justified: it shows the secondary nature and helplessness of the industry in relation to spontaneous artistic projects.

The logic of the original continues on an unconscious level, which is very deep in both films. It is no coincidence that at the Moscow premiere of Volga-Volga, the film’s spiritual father, Boris Yukhananov, spoke of the alarming infernality and dark devilry that lurked in every frame of the Volga-Volga original.

The beginning of such interpretations was laid by Aleksandrov himself, who at one time complained about the “hypnotic influence” of the shot Nielsen, which justifies some of the ideological mistakes of Stalin’s favorite film. And in the title song of the picture there are eloquent lines: We move mountains and rivers // The time of fairy tales has come in reality.

“Volga-Volga” of 1938 can really be perceived as a version of the Russian fairy tale about a lucky fool (or rather, a fool Dunya Petrova) who ends up in the capital and there, thanks to his resourcefulness and naivety, breaks the bank.But this, again, is only a formal level.

In fact, after a careful revision of the original Volga-Volga, it becomes clear that, firstly, this is a real folk tale, and not a literary processed fairy tale – that is, a cruel story without a happy ending, which is quite consistent with the situation of the 1930s years. Secondly, the hero of this film is not Strelka at all, but Byvalov himself – a character who most resembles a person, and not a giggling and grimacing evil spirit. And finally, in terms of genre, Aleksandrov’s film is a horror story, a story about how scary it is to live in a happy Soviet country, maybe even a warning to all viewers, although it is hardly conscious.

From the point of view of the plot, the entire film is constructed as a series of nightmares that the hero experiences on the way to the goal of his journey, that is, to Moscow. Every minute he is bullied by impudent and assertive creatures who constantly change their image with the help of dressing up, make-up, pantomime, etc.

First, the letter-carrier performs a lezginka in front of him and reads lines from “The Demon” – which can also be considered a hint: “I am the one whom no one loves,” she declaims, glancing slyly at Byvalov.

Then the waiter in the cafe, instead of giving the person a drink, sings the anthem to the Soviet food industry to the tune of Lensky’s aria from Eugene Onegin, and the cooks, making faces and waving huge knives, unambiguously step on Byvalov.

The policeman does not stop hooliganism either – he is also a conspiracy. At his signal, “Whistle Dance” begins – an infernal scene of the demonstration of Melkovodsk’s talents, in which Byvalov is alternately stunned, caught in fishing nets, bewildered with acrobatics, strangled, made to experience genuine horror and literally driven to an animal frenzy when he lapping from the trough. In the end, he is forced to agree to take the demons of Melkovodsk to Moscow.

The capital, which on the whole looks like a realized earthly paradise and ideologically opposes the dense darkness of the rest of the country, also does not bring peace to Byvalov.Moscow celestials at first reassure him, encouraging him for the song he allegedly wrote, then make him endure humiliation and confess to creative impotence, confuse, multiply the number of true authors (“blow”, which, in addition to the name of the heroine, is also the real nickname of Isaac Dunaevsky) and, in in the end, they are banished from their world.

At the very end of the film, Byvalov’s tormentors – all these nightmarish “Uncle Kuzi” and “Aunt Pasha” mechanically bow and, as befits evil spirits, dissolve into thin air.

Substitution instead of Orlova Mamyshev-Monroe sharpens and strengthens the macabre essence of the film.It is hard not to notice that the head of the letter carrier, who still talks, sings, kisses, as it should be according to the script, is alien to the body. She is disproportionate, clumsy and at the same time is capable of taking completely unnatural positions for a living being. In other words, Arrow becomes like a victim of a monstrous but successful Stalinist experiment to transplant a man’s head to a woman. The film even acquires some kind of Buddhist note, quite organic to the postmodern experiment: not only the hero of Ilyinsky, who is trying to oppose the dark forces with his bureaucratic impenetrability, evokes compassion, but also the demon himself with a foreign head, who is just as tormented, locked in a foreign body, as well as his sacrifice.

Experienced, as it should be according to the laws of the genre, devils catch, looking for human, and therefore vulnerable – in his case, this is vanity; he comes across an offer to impersonate the author of a song about the Volga. This is the natural outcome of any contact with evil spirits, as we remember from the experience of Homa Brut, and the heroes of the films “Angel Heart” or “The Wicker Man”.

But the Arrow-Monroe remake ceases to be a tempter, and, like Lermontov’s Demon, only yearns against the background of hallucinogenic penguins and awkwardly sings a song that is rapidly losing pathos and solemnity.According to the post-Soviet liberal logic of Labazov and Silvestrov, she, as part of the devil’s retinue, is just as fooled and deprived of the will and meaning of existence, like her victims.

Only pure absolute evil triumphs in the film with Monroe, symbolizing the state, towards which, as you know, the artist was very critical.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the position of the editors


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