Funny, serious and touching at the same time, the film follows three parallel stories of old school friends and former fellow band members. Now a police officer, taxi driver and surgeon, all in their forties, they cross paths without realising it.
Gromozeka is the name of a band set up by three best friends in their youth. In the present day, these friends are in their forties and live in Moscow, but lost track of one another. Gromozeka is also a figure from the animation film one of them - the police officer - still seems to enjoy. Maybe because he can identify with Gromozeka’s words: 'I am so unlucky in life!' He is stuck in a rut with his work, his wife doesn't really care about him and his adult son cares even less.
The officer’s friends, a taxi driver and a surgeon, are no happier. The former finds out about the secret life of his only daughter, and thinks up a peculiar plan to deal with this. The latter, not being able to decide between his wife and his lover, finds out that the lover has taken destiny in her own hands, but later life has even more unpleasant suprises to spring.
The lives of these three old friends pass by in parallel, occasionally crossing over in sophisticated ways. This is the second film by one of the most talented Russian directors of his generation, following the international success of The Fly (2008). It’s mature, excellently acted and directed; it’s about men fighting the banality of everyday life, with its betrayals, love and aging. And about an ordinary man lost in the anonymity of a big city.
When going to see a Russian film, people often have certain expectations of slow-motion, beautifully shot and somewhat nostalgic images. I might be wrong, of course.
Gromozeka is one of those modern films that takes you to contemporary Moscow in the style that reminds us a little of American masterpieces like Robert Altman's Shortcuts or Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia. A style not often seen in Russian cinema, and therefore even more appreciated.
The stories of three men and former school friends are interrelated without them realising it. Their everyday and ordinary lives encompass the struggles of a contemporary man with as background the socio-political changes of the country. Other than that, it is the survival of a simple man in a contemporary city of 12 million inhabitants.
Based on his own script, the director works out the characters very carefully, with an eye for detail and very special humour, with a pinch of satire. A very amusing film, full of small surprises.
Programmer Note by Ludmila Cvikova, www.filmfestivalrotterdam.com