Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sergei Debizhev: The Golden Mean aka The Golden Section - Золотое сечение (2010)

Director Sergei Debizhev
Actors Aleksei Serebryakov, Natalya Dyufres, Renata Litvinova, Kseniya Rappoport, Nikolai Marton, Victor Verzhbitsky,

In the summer of 2010 the film The Golden Mean finally arrived on the screens: “finally” because work on the film took no less than three years. During this time the film changed its working title “Season of Rains”, shooting at the exotic location of Cambodia, to Golden Mean – a concept closely connected in our consciousness with art, with the law of harmony, and with Leonardo Da Vinci. Moreover, it evokes parallels with some mystical phenomena.

Various cinema web-sites tend to define the genre of the film as “adventure” (some add “mystical” or even “historical”). Maybe this is true to a certain extent, especially when relying for this assessment on the plot, without going into details. There is a hero (Aleksei Serebriakov)—a young and successful representative of the world of show business, the world of limelight and glamour, the world from which he escapes in search of adventures, in an attempt to uncover the story of his own family. The plot is rather convoluted: there is a historical line reaching back to the Second World War and to a squadron in Neman, Normandy; there is all sort of mysticism—the discovered diary, the Masonic lodge, the lost statue of Buddha; and there are lethally dangerous tests which the hero has to pass in Cambodia (the jungle, adders, mine fields and so forth). There is also an antihero (Daniel Shigapov), who—in line with the conventions of the genre (assuming we are dealing with an adventure film) tries to hinder the hero in every possible way, even at the cost of his own life. There are helpers of the hero (Ksenia Rappoport, Natalia Dufraisse), who—on the contrary—assist him with his mission. There are chases and pursuits, shootings, struggle for survival; and there is the constant search for a way out of seemingly insoluble situations. But at the same time, the film contains numerous elements that move The Golden Mean from the category of adventure film into a different sphere. And here a lot depends on personal taste and predilections. So, for example, it is possible to detect elements of parable and melodrama; moreover, one might read the entire film as subtle, postmodernist steb. I shall refrain here from trying to define the genre, and justify my interpretation by quoting the director, who said that the film has no uniform genre, but that the genre varies from episode to episode like in a kaleidoscope (Mazurova). ...

Reviewed by Sonia Troshina in KinoKultura

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