USSR 1984. On the eve of perestroika,
during the Afghan war. Military
planes with zinc coffins (cargo 200)
do not bypass the small provincial
town of Leninsk. A young girl lives
here; she is in love with a lad who
serves in Afghanistan. He perishes.
The militiaman Zhurov, a typical
Soviet madman, is in love with the
girl. After a disco, the daughter of
the Communist Party committee’s
secretary goes missing. There are no
witnesses, and the culprit is not
found. On the same evening, a gruesome
murder happens in a house on
the town’s periphery. The house
owner is guilty of the crime. Both
investigations are led by police captain
Source : www.moscowfilmfestival.ru
1984 : in a small corrupt town within the USSR, a scientist, a psychopathic policeman, a farmer and his daughter drown their sorrows in vodka, thus beginning their spiral into hell. Abduction, rape and murder pile up in this furious thriller that allows Alexei Balabanov to return to the pre-perestroika period of his country and to evoke the Afghanistan war. The director denounces the era’s violence and anarchy, refusing to fall back into an easy nostalgia, 23 years on, when dealing with the Soviet period. Balabanov at his best.
The eleventh film by Alexei Balabanov is the longest awaited and probably most spoken about film of his career. From its announcement in script form to the premiere at the Sochi film festival, the film has given cause for emotional reactions. It is a provocation à la Balabanov par excellence. It seems like all the elements of previous films such as Brother, Of Freaks and Men and Dead Man's Bluff can be doubled here.
This harsh pre-Perestroika thriller is about a maniacal policeman, his mother, the local party leader and his daughter and many others in Leninsk, a small Soviet town. It is set to the background of the Soviet-Afghan war. Balabanov wanted to draw a picture of the dying 'body' of the USSR and make a statement against the current rise of Soviet nostalgia. A small newspaper article became an inspiration for this mirror of the moral decay of the period. The daughter of the local communist party leader disappears without a trace after leaving a disco club. During the same evening a cruel murder is committed on the outskirts of the town. Both cases are investigated by the local police captain.
As some of the actors with whom Balabanov cooperated before refused to become a part of this harsh drama, he has successfully collaborated with newcomers and less known faces. The final picture of the times seems to be painfully realistic, almost surrealistic. (LC)
Source : www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com