David Robinson, The Times of London wrote:
Frumin has [a] gift for discovering the unexpected in every shot and character, and a lifelike way of inextricably mingling farce and tragedy.
One of the best Russian films of the 1990s, Viva Castro! is set in a small Russian town in 1965. “At this time Fidel Castro was as important for the Russian people as Elvis Presley was for the Americans,” says the director, Boris Frumin, who returned to Russia after sixteen years of exile in America to make this film.
Young Kolya is in love with his singing teacher, but his life isn’t easy. His father skips town after stealing some coins from a museum and his mother is sent to a labor camp as punishment. When the father returns a year later, Kolya becomes involved with the pretty young woman hired to nurse him. Continue reading
29 November 2005 | by severaloptions (United States)
I took the movie very seriously. Of course it is a black farce. But not only so.
I love to watch this movie. The director captured my attention and held it. The acting is extremely well-done down to the smallest gesture. The dialogue is meaningful; the silences even more so. Tatyana Drybich found her role here.
To me the movie uses this medium of dark farce to make some uncomfortable points about the course of Russia. That is obvious. But also it talks about what is meaningful to anyone. I think the dentist has an important role in the film, and his character is particularly well-done. Bravo!!! Very moving, poignant. Continue reading
Elena and Vladimir are an older couple, they come from different backgrounds. Vladimir is a wealthy and cold man, Elena comes from a modest milieu and is a docile wife. They have met late in life and each one has children from previous marriages. Elena’s son is unemployed, unable to support his own family and he is constantly asking Elena for money. Vladimir’s daughter is a careless young woman who has a distant relationship with her father. A heart attack puts Vladimir in hospital, where he realizes that his remaining time is limited. A brief but somehow tender reunion with his daughter leads him to make an important decision: she will be the only heiress of his wealth. Back home he announces it to Elena. Her hopes to financially help her son suddenly vanish. The shy and submissive housewife then comes up with a plan to give her son and grandchildren a real chance in life. (Cannes Film Festival) Continue reading
The film tells the story of young Russian in early 90s, trying to escape the army in a psychiatric clinic and after intensive compulsory treatment released years later. Then as a documentary film maker he gets involved in Chechen conflict. There he meets his apparent death and between life and death he recalls his life and realizes it as a life of a whole generation. Continue reading
Winter is never-ending in Aleksei Guerman’s impenetrable film ”Khroustaliov, My Car!,” a nearly two-and-a-half hour absurdist nightmare of life in the Soviet Union during the final days of Stalin’s rule. Snow falls in almost every scene of this starkly grim, black-and-white movie, which follows the triumph, fall from grace and hasty rehabilitation of a hulking Red Army general and brain surgeon named Yuri Glinshi (Yuri Tsourilo). Processions of black government vehicles are forever materializing like ominous phantoms through the curtains of snow that drift over a dilapidated town decorated with gleaming white statues of the beady-eyed, mustached Soviet dictator. Continue reading
Farmer Ivan Dunaev gets up early. He feeds his piglets, does paperwork, fixes the tractor, and weighs the meat he’ll take in his old pickup truck to the market to sell. He has a wife, a teenage daughter, and a young son. And he loves to hunt. His world revolves around these things. Then, one day, two new workers, Lyuba and Raya, on work release from the local prison colony, arrive on the farm. Ivan doesn’t notice it at first, but something begins to change. Continue reading
Passions (1994) has a slightly different program: Accompany a pack of extroverted, sub-Fellini nutlogs to a horse farm, where they prance, vamp, and blabber about horses, love, and life. “It’s like somebody nudges me and whispers: Ask them—will they bear it?” one character says, summarizing Muratova’s strategy. Photographed in uncharacteristically lush colors, Passions won an indulgent Russian Oscar. Continue reading