Friday, 2 March 2012

Dmitri Astrakhan: Everything Will Be All Right - Все будет хорошо(1995) (English subtitles)

Director: Dmitri Astrakhan
Writer: Oleg Danilov
Stars: Mikhail Ulyanov, Aleksandr Zbruev,Olga Ponizov

Made at the peak of social exasperation brought on by the growing numbers of the New Russian Poor and the unabated arrogance of the New Russian Rich, Everything Will Be OK embodies Astrakhan’s attempt to render the predominant at the time chernukha film style in over-the-top comedic mode. In addition to the plot with its deliberate narrative excesses, the film revealed in an almost statistical manner the hellish depths of social deprivation of the New Russian poor—alcoholism, violent crime, unemployment, prostitution, lack of perspective for the young and security for the old, horrifying poverty—hidden under the ironic title Everything Will Be OK. For it takes nothing short of a miracle to resolve any of those problems. ...

Everything Will Be O.K., the new film from the gifted director Dmitri Astrakhan mixes effectively elements of Hollywood screwball comedy with uniquely Russian humor and texture. End result is a winning romantic comedy with strong commercial potential in Western markets, some already familiar with Astrakhan's former outings, Get Thee Out and You're My One and Only, which had played the international festival circuit.

Astrakhan takes the basic format of screwball comedy–a romantic triangle, a Cinderella-like heroine, an impending wedding–and then both subverts and inverts the genre's conventions with distinctively Russian ingredients, such as a rural, provincial locale and typical Russian mores.

Kolya (Anatoli Guravlev) and Olga (Olga Ponezova) are stepsiblings who grew up together and loved each other ever since they were children. As expected, upon his return from military service, Kolya proposes and preparation for a wedding is under way. But the penniless couple doesn't win their parents approval–Kolya's mother is particularly discouraging, as all her life she has dreamed for her son to marry a rich girl with good background–and an apartment.

Into the chaotic town arrives Smirnov (Alexander Zbruev), old flame of Kolya's mother who's now a successful businessman, and his son Petya (Mark Garanok), a 20-year-old prodigy and Nobel Prize laureate. As soon as the dashing, educated youngster lays his yes on Olga, it's clear that a fateful night–and all kinds of complications–will ensue on the way to church altar.

It's to the credit of scripter Romanenko and director Astrakhan that, though they employ the basic structure of a fairy tale, there's still genuine suspense. To the last minute, it's unclear who'll be the lucky fellow to wed the charming, if also totally confused and unpredictable Olga. ...

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