Cast:Constantin Asponsky, Alexandre Bouianov, Lydia Ejevskaya, Nicolai Ejevsky, Sergei Galkin
Best Director Award, Cannes 1990
Taxi Blues is emblematic of the end of two empires: the Soviet Union itself and the mighty film industry that was arguably one of its most successful endeavors, both domestically and internationally. Pavel Lungin made the film, his directorial debut, in 1990, the last full year of Soviet power and also the statistical high point of Soviet film production (300 Soviet films were released that year; the post-Soviet Russian film industry in comparison has produced in the double digits for nine consecutive years). One of the first Soviet co-productions with the West, the film was a harbinger of the post-Soviet period, in which unsubsidized Russian directors have relied heavily on the financial backing of foreign producers.
The film itself evinces the influence of the capitalist West technically and narratively; it was among the first Soviet movies shot with live sound, and among the genres that inform the movie are the buddy picture and the action film (note the climactic car chase). Lungin achieves a complex cinematic pastiche, however, by alluding just as clearly to Soviet cultural tropes such as the love-hate relationship between the working class and the intelligentsia, the stodgy official banquet for visiting foreign delegations, and the ever-present Marxist-Leninist imagery encountered in the urban landscape of the Soviet capital.
—Marcia Pally, Cineaste 18.2(1991): 22-27