Monday, July 20, 2015

NZIFF 2015: Film 5; The Fool


It's modern Russia. This kinda shit doesn't happen in real life... So Dima thinks...

When naive & idealistic plumber-come- engineering student Dima comes across a burst building pipe that hints of major impending danger to the occupants of a dilapidated dormitory in his town, he does what he instinctively thinks is the right action - he notifies those in charge to alert them so they can organize the appropriate response needed.

But, this being modern Russia, nyet comrade! That is not how things are done. Palms need to be greased, ego's need to be massaged, bribes need to be paid, etc. Welcome to the dog-eat-dog harsh realities of life in Putin's corrupt state. As Dima slowly realises, nobody cares if the 800-odd inhabitants ("All Scumbags, thieves, punks, junkies, welfare-dependent lowlifes" states one of the mayors cronies) happen to perish. A collective shrug is given. Besides, who is this kid anyway trying to tell us what is going to happen?

One of the best aspects of watching any non-Hollywood film is your lack of familiarity with the actors on screen.  This means you come to believe you're watching real characters who are merely re-enacting these stories for our benefit. The cast here are uniformly excellent, all inhabiting their roles with consummate ease.

This being a dramatic Russian movie, there isn't much overt humour on display, maybe just a few black-comedy-ish spots, but... it isn't a happy tale by any stretch!

Weirdly though, all these various gloomy aspects are the key reasons for me as to just why it's so utterly compelling, and absolutely unmissable.

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