The eleventh film by Alexei Balabanov is the longest awaited and probably most spoken about film of his career. From its announcement in script form to the premiere at the Sochi film festival, the film has given cause for emotional reactions. It is a provocation à la Balabanov par excellence. It seems like all the elements of previous films such as Brother, Of Freaks and Men and Dead Man’s Bluff can be doubled here.
This harsh pre-Perestroika thriller is about a maniacal policeman, his mother, the local party leader and his daughter and many others in Leninsk, a small Soviet town. It is set to the background of the Soviet-Afghan war. Balabanov wanted to draw a picture of the dying ‘body’ of the USSR and make a statement against the current rise of Soviet nostalgia. A small newspaper article became an inspiration for this mirror of the moral decay of the period. The daughter of the local communist party leader disappears without a trace after leaving a disco club. During the same evening a cruel murder is committed on the outskirts of the town. Both cases are investigated by the local police captain.
As some of the actors with whom Balabanov cooperated before refused to become a part of this harsh drama, he has successfully collaborated with newcomers and less known faces. The final picture of the times seems to be painfully realistic, almost surrealistic. —IFFR
Aleksei Balabanov was born on February 25, 1959 in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg). In 1981 he graduated from Translation Faculty of Gorky Teachers’ Training University. From 1983 to 1987 Alexei worked as an assistant of a film director at Sverdlovsk film studio. Later Balabanov studied at the experimental course “Authors’ Cinema” of the High Courses for Scriptwriters and Film Directors, graduating in 1990.
Balabanov started his creative career in “big cinema” in 1991 with directing his first full-length feature Shchastlivyye dni (Happy Days) after his own script. In the same year he became the co-author of the script Pogranichniy Conflict (Frontier Conflict) by the young film director Nadezhda Khvorova. In 1992 Aleksei Balabanov together with producers Sergei Selyanov and Vasily Grigor’ev established the STV Film Company, which later participated in creation of almost all of his films.
In 1994 the film director released Zamok (The Castle) after the famous novel by Frantz… read more