My Joy

July 10, 2012 at 8:46 am | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment

◊ ½

This year’s winner for Most Ironic Title award.  This Ukrainian film apparently caused a bit of a stir in Russia for its less than glowing look at Russian life.  The film follows a truck driver as he attempts to deliver a load of flour in rural Russia.  Along the way, he encounters corrupt cops, a prostitute, some thieves and a variety of others lacking any moral code.  After a severe beating, he is left in a small village, where he appears to be brain damaged and wanders for some unknown period of months relying on the random kindness of peasants, all of whom pay for it in some form of suffering.  Through these little vignettes and a few random side stories (told in flashback or otherwise tangentially related to the main story), we basically learn that all life in Russia is suffering and brutality.  Apparently, Russia (or at least rural Russia) is a place where self-hating and desperate people use whatever miniscule power they have to take out their rage on those slightly less powerful than they.  For all of this horror, it has the languid pace of a typical Eastern European film.  In fact, much of the film could be watched at 4x normal speed and the dialogue is so sparse, it could still be easily read (believe me, I tried it).  This said, it has a sort of stark beauty that also reminds me of other Eastern European works and, at times, of the German film, “The White Ribbon” (another laugh riot).  However, it was neither nearly so beautiful nor as haunting as that film.  It was, in the end, just brutal.

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