Director: Roman Karimov
Writer: Roman Karimov
Stars: Ilya Lyubimov, Ingrid Olerinskaya, Evgeniy Tsyganov
Audience Award International debut film festival, Russia, 2012
Best first film Window to Europe Film Festival, Vyborg, Russia, 2010
Audience Award Window to Europe Film Festival, Vyborg, Russia, 2010
Psychoanalysis is still a relatively rare profession in Russia, and very few people there seek psychological help. Psychoanalysis, however, plays a central role in Roman Karimov’s debut film, Inadequate People. Rather than reflecting the realities of Russian life, psychoanalysis here is borrowed from the Hollywood tradition, where it often provides both the film’s narrative structure and a better understanding of characters. Like many Hollywood films, Inadequate People also treats psychoanalysis ironically—Dr Kozlov turns out to be a sadomasochist, and the film’s heroine Kristina even refers to the self-analysis of Woody Allen. In accordance with its genre, romantic comedy, the film suggests that the characters’ psychological problems should be solved not through professional help, but primarily through love.
Inadequate People, then, is a romantic comedy with a darker undercurrent. The film’s male protagonist, Vitalii (Il’ia Liubimov), suffers from jealousy and is unable to control his violent outbreaks. He realizes the inadequacy of his life when his girlfriend dies in a car accident as he falls asleep while driving. Vitalii then moves to Moscow to start a new life. He is guided in this endeavor by the psychoanalyst, Dr Kozlov (Evgenii Tsyganov), whose therapy consists of giving Vitalii a key to a new apartment and his own book, Life from a Blank Page (Zhizn’ s chistogo lista), that should help Vitalii in the process of recovery. As Dr Kozlov explains, “No one has died from this therapy yet.” The film then follows Vitalii as he gets a job at a glossy women’s magazine and develops a relationship with the teenage girl living next-door, Kristina (Ingrid Olerinskaia). His past still troubles him, however, as it appears in flashbacks throughout the film. Similarly, his violence simmers just beneath the surface, and he finds it hard to control his anger. Due to the introduction of the protagonist’s troubled past, the film can be described as art-house light (avtorskii meinstrim), belonging somewhere between art-house and pure genre cinema.
Vitalii is not the only character in need of psychological help. The boss of the glossy magazine where he works, Marina (Iuliia Tashkina), suffers from sex addiction, and Kristina has difficulty relating to her mother. Along with other minor characters, they can be described as the “inadequate people” of the title. Significantly, both Kristina and Marina end up at the psychoanalyst’s office. Like the psychoanalyst, these characters have their prototypes in Hollywood cinema. The despotic boss of a women’s glossy magazine can be traced to The Devil Wears Prada, and troubled teenagers like Kristina appear frequently in both Hollywood and Russian films. These characters are then quite “adequate,” and even typical, for contemporary cinema, so that the film critic Elena Paisova can describe the characters of Inadequate People as “serial marionettes.” ...
Reviewed by Irina Anisimova © 2011 in KinoKultura
Inadequate People is a fascinating independent movie. It does not come off as a low-budget project; one could even compare it to much more expensive products, given the way it looks in a high-definition video release. We never have the feeling that this is a ‘homemade’ film in any aspect. The cinematography is professional, the direction and pacing marvelous, and the performances by the actors very realistic. We believe their emotions. In terms of both budget and creative approach, it probably helped the movie that Karimov took on many roles. Other than directing Inadequate People, he also wrote the screenplay and edited the film, as well as composing and arranging the score. It is therefore fair to describe him as a multi-talented man. ...