Sunday, 21 September 2008

Igor Voloshin: Nirvana - Нирвана (2007)

Director: Igor Voloshin
Script: Olga Larionova
Camera: Dmitrii Iashonkov
Design: Pavel Parkhomenko
Costume design: Nadezhda Vasileva
Make-Up and Hair Design: Anna Esmont
Original Music: Aleksandr Kopeikin
Cast: Olga Sutulova, Mariia Shalaeva, Artur Smolianinov, Mikhail Evlanov, Tatiana Samoilova
Producer: Sergei Selianov
Production: CTB Film Company

Reviewed in KinoKultura by Elena Prokhorova© 2008

Igor' Voloshin's debut feature film Nirvana opened in July 2008 to less than half full screening halls, a fact at least partially explained by its doomed competition with Hollywood summer blockbusters, which included Timur Bekmambetov's American debut, Wanted (2008). Nirvana's pre-release performance in festival circuits, however, marks it as a film worthy of notice. The film received a prize at the Kinotavr film festival in the category “Best Debut” and was screened both at the Berlin and Moscow International Film Festivals.
Artsy (or at least “culty”) in style and targeting primarily young audiences, Nirvana follows the nurse Alisa (Ol'ga Sutulova), who leaves Moscow for St. Petersburg in search of a different life. She rents a room in a dilapidated but once grand apartment, next to a couple of “quiet” teenage junkies. Her affair with her neighbor, nicknamed “Dead Man” (Artur Smol'ianinov), leads to violent confrontations with his miniature lover Vel (Mariia Shalaeva), a heavy-duty heroin addict. The girls' mutual hostility, however, transforms into a strong bond, especially when the two have to raise money to rescue Dead Man from his creditor. Having lost Vel, who dies of an overdose after Dead Man betrays her, Alisa “re-unites” with her friend in a heroin-induced Nirvana, and then leaves St. Petersburg. ...
"Nirvana" (2008)

Essentially a conventional story about drug addiction and the redemptive power of female friendship, Russian drama "Nirvana" compels attention for its outrageously over-the-top costumes and makeup, courtesy of Nadezhda Vasiliyeva and Anna Essmont, respectively. Although supposedly contempo-set, helmer Igor Voloshin's debut feature looks at first like some lost 1990s-made cyberpunk effort styled by the late Australian performance artist-cum-designer Leigh Bowery, which is sort of a good thing. Pic takes itself a little too seriously for outright critical acclaim, but it may find a semi-blissful afterlife on the fest circuit and as a cult title on ancillary.

Awards :

Best first film Open Russian Film Festival Kinotavr, Russia, 2008
Best Set Decoration Pavel PARKHOMENKO , Annual award of the Guild of Historians of Cinema and Film Critics, Russia, 2008

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