Rich imagery and political allegory enliven a complex tale in this late Soviet-era mystery/drama. In the story, a government investigator has come to town to look into the validity of bribery charges that were brought against an official there. In the meantime, it is discovered that two twin brothers have been engaged in a kind of familial warfare. One was a medical doctor married to a beautiful woman. The second, who had no love for his brother and was interested in bedding his wife, impersonated his twin at the hospital and committed medical malpractice which resulted in a patient’s death. The doctor, his career ruined, is now forced to support himself by going door-to-door selling kerosene, while his sociopathic brother becomes chairman of the local town council. The film’s director, Aleksandr Kaidanovsky, is a student of Andrei Tarkovsky, and the master’s influence clearly shows in the film. —emironov.com
Alexander Leonidovich Kaidanovsky (23 July 1946, Rostov-on-Don, USSR – 3 December 1995, Moscow, Russia) was a Soviet and Russian actor and film director.
His best known roles are in films such as At Home Among Strangers (1974), Telokhranitel/The Bodyguard (1979) and Stalker (1979).
Prior to pursuing an acting career, Kaidanovsky attended technical college where he was training to become a welder. Apparently a prospect of becoming a worker did not appeal to him and in 1965 he started studying acting at The Rostov Theatre School and the Schukin Institute in Moscow. Before completing the course he took his first part in the film Tainstvennaya stena (A Mysterious Wall), (1967) and upon graduation in 1969, he worked as stage actor.
In 1985 he directed A Simple Death, which was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
Kaidanovsky made his theatre debut at the Eugene Vakhtangov Theatre in 1969. In 1971 he was invited to join MKHAT… read more