Directed by: Aleksandr Zeldovich
Written by: Vladimir Sorokin and Aleksandr Zeldovich
Starring: Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Tatyana Drubich, Natalya Kolyakanova, Aleksandr Baluyev, Viktor Gvozditsky
By Andrew James Horton in CER
Nowadays it is fashionable for a major film release to be accompanied by the publication of its screenplay. But for his film Moskva (Moscow, 2000), Aleksandr Zeldovich published the script, written jointly with the enfant terrible of Russia's literary establishment Vladimir Sorokin, before shooting even began. The result was a literary sensation, and the script was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize.
Taking the genre of the gangster film, Zeldovich and Sorokin used the dialogue to create a tense portrait of the 1990s and to evoke the changing power structures in a Russia, where Communism has given way to what Zeldovich terms the "new totalitarianism."
The film centres on Mike, a businessman in decidedly the "new Russian" mould. When Mike gets stung on a deal, his suspicions immediately fall on Lev, who receives the customary torture to make him reveal where the money has gone. When Lev doesn't confess, Mike's suspicions waver and turn to other quarters, but as a precaution he still keeps Lev close at hand, locked up in the nightclub of an old friend and lover, Irina....
Moskva is just one of a whole slew of gangster films to have emerged from Russia since the Soviet Union disintegrated, with film-makers inexorably drawn to depicting the sleazily luxurious life of the New Russians like moths to the light. ...