Saturday, 26 April 1986. A reactor tower at Chernobyl power station has exploded. The party heads play things down but Valery Kabysh, sometime drummer and now a faithful young party official has seen the panic written on the faces of those in charge and senses that every second counts. This is the true story of his failed escape.
He tries to leave the city together with Vera, the woman he loves, and his musician friends. But his life holds him back. It’s Saturday. People are out walking, shopping, celebrating weddings; children are playing outside. Caught up in this carefree hustle and bustle, every attempt he makes to leave is unsuccessful. All the while, the disaster is an invisible but ever-present figure in this story. It is as if the people are handcuffed and have lost the key. A lost passport, a broken heel, a missed train. A wedding where the musicians must play on to the end. Vera is singing in the band that at one time used to be Valery’s. And Valery is filling in for the usual drummer who is too drunk to play. What? A life-threatening catastrophe? Deadly radiation?
Even when Valery’s colleagues in the band are told what’s going on they continue to party. Another vodka! Another bottle of wine! All that counts is to carry on and be happy, even if it’s only for a moment.
It is Saturday, the sun is shining and the grass is green – still. But this Saturday is far from innocent and the people are mercilessly left to their fate. –Berlinale
V Subbotu matches fearless and dazzling cinematography with equally impressive acting from the lead, unfortunately it's not enough to save a script that seems to fall apart in the second half. Plot holes and unconvincing character choices left me feeling short-changed by a film that seemed to ignore it's carefully crafted world in preference to making a general statement about the Russian condition. 3 stars
In our annual poll, we pair our favorite new films of 2011 with older films seen in the same year to create fantastic double features.
Finding work at the Berlin Film Festival