Director: Sergey Govorukhin
Writers: Vadim Bochanov, Sergei Karandashov,
Stars: Aleksandr Ratnikov, Anna Taratorkina, Tatyana Kolganova
Sergei Govorukhin, the director, writer and producer of Land of Men, and the son of the director Stanislav Govorukhin, died on 27 October 2011, having been admitted to hospital ten days earlier following a brain haemorrhage. He was fifty years old, and had made his name in the 1990s as a war reporter in Chechnya, where he lost a leg. His film Land of Men had premiered just a month before. Sergei Govorukhin was also a writer, and his last film is based on his own novella Mutnyi materik, which translates as ‘Murky Mainland’, but is the name of a village in the Komi peninsular in the far north of Russia.
It is in the wintry north where the films begins, as the hero, the budding writer Aleksei Komarov, agrees with his work boss to take his annual leave. He returns to Moscow, where he has an apartment, having struck up a relationship with the languorous Tamara on the train journey. Just as Aleksei is trying to find a publisher for his work, so Tamara is looking for roles in the theatre. Through the agencies of Evgeniia, who graduated from the film school course he had abandoned, Aleksei’s script is accepted by a film-maker and he is given a handsome advance payment. After her first role as a teapot in a TV commercial, Tamara is then accepted for a part on a TV show hosted by Evgeniia. Aleksei refuses to compromise on his screenplay with the director Orekhov and returns the advance. He and Tamara separate, and she reveals her love and sadness on Evgeniia’s show. As Aleksei walks home at night he is attacked and stabbed by a gang of thugs. ...
Reviewed by David Gillespie © 2012 in KinoKultura