Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sergei Loban: Chapiteau Show - Шапито-шоу (2011)

Director: Sergei Loban
Writer: Marina Potapova
Stars: Znamensky Aleksei, Kuznetsov Anton, Jim Avignon



Pretty, but lonesome girl meets a nihistic guy nicknamed Cyber Ranger on the Internet. First she drags him out of the virtual space on a real date, and then – to Cremea, where she continues to draggle him around with her – to the beach, dinner or discotheque – with fatal consequences for not so experienced in love affairs blogger.

In the second part of the film it is deaf young man Lyosha’s turn to come to the resort, together with a bunch of bohemian guys leaded by a impetuous Pioneer (the gang calls themselves a unit and wears red ties). Lyosha is followed by his old friends, who are also deaf and numb and ready to fight furiously for their right to stay the way they are in the face of the sounding world.

In the third novella the young and shy first-time director encounters his father – famous actor – after a long time of absence. The father wants his son to forgive and drags the boy to the wild nature – to be closer to wildlife and feel true spirituality.

Finally, in the last chapter of the movie an ambitious producer from Moscow takes his mentee, the look-alike of Viktor Tsoi for a tour, with the not so smart guy not aware of the fact that he is looking like an idiot in the eyes of the whole country.

The chapters of the films, named Love, Friendship, Respect and Cooperation, are crossed as the plot develops (the protagonists of one novella appear in others as extras) and rebound one from another with the same idea: that every given private tragedy feels like a banality, not only in the face of the eternity, but even being compared with another given private misery. This thought is also confirmed here by the fact that all of the protagonists of each chapter in the moment of crisis points say one and the same monologue, and the closer is the end of the films, the more piercingly those words sound.

The dramaturgy is interesting, but the way the screen space is organized is even more fascinating. Sergei Loban, who proved his talent of remaining realistic and precise in the bounds of grotesque genre in his previous work Dust, works here in the form of “quiet surrealism”. He takes reality as it is and doesn’t fabricate it, organizing it his own way instead, slightly turning the familiar accents. Having thrown away most of the fixations from which Russian cinema often suffers, the authors of the film are working with the most simple, most familiar details if life – Cremea, Tsoi, conversation about Jorge Luis Borges on the first date and constant drunken talks about ethics and aesthetics. The metaphors are also quite simple and obvious: in the moments of despair the real tempest hits the resort, in the moments of sincere yearning – the non-metaphorical fire happens. In some point of the story there appear a monstrous local producer, a wise cameraman, a miserable film director called Shpagin and another producer from Moscow, who is too sophisticated to realize that his stupid mentee gradually takes his life from him. The whole action starts looking self-ironical at the moment. At the very end of the film the miserable producer shouts: “By this gesture I wished to say…”, but, as it usually happens in such cases, he doesn’t have a chance to finish. Which is probably right. And from this point of view – not only this article should end right now, but to tell the truth, many it shouldn’t have been started at all. ...

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