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305 Ratings

My Friend Ivan Lapshin

Мой друг Иван Лапшин

Directed by Aleksei German
Soviet Union, 1985
Drama, Crime


Adapted from popular stories written by Guerman’s own father, My Friend Ivan Lapshin wryly chronicles the material deprivations and minor satisfactions of communal life during the time in which Stalin’s cult of personality became a routine part of everyday life…and gangsters still ran rampant.

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My Friend Ivan Lapshin Directed by Aleksei German
Despite being mostly shot in black and white and sepia, the film is alive with an unruly, uncentered and unprocessed feel of communal activity. Alexsei German orchestrates this action with masterful long takes and tracking shots. But unlike the employment of this technique by Tarkovsky or Tarr, German doesn't so much connect images along a meditative stream with his more roughhewn, often handheld camerawork as clash them in an animated clatter of incongruity, something resembling collage art.
May 24, 2009
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Reportedly revered by Russian critics, Lapshin doesn't look like any other film (natural light is trusted to a disarming degree), and the respect it affords its beleaguered characters is Renoirian, if Renoir were a New Wave modernist who'd endured almost a half-century of Soviet stress.
May 21, 2009
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Loosely episodic, the film is remarkable in its resistance to linear narrative: dialogue is often drowned out by senseless chatter or the clanging of buckets; our view of important characters is frequently blocked by figures crossing the screen. In its cinematography, Ivan Lapshin consistently refuses to accept established priorities: as though every element of each shot must be allowed its meaning.
January 01, 2001
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