FIND MOVIES
Movie List
Loading ...
or
Find Theaters and Movie Times
or
Search Movies

Dream catcher

By MICHAEL ATKINSON  |  November 25, 2008

Like most ostensibly opulent historical epics made with little cash, the film has an endearingly rough-hewn character, all natural light, filth, second-grade materials, and rooms that seemed to have already felt a century of aging. All the same, Shakhnazarov is no Gillo Pontecorvo, and his film isn't interested in reflective politics so much as in the melancholy of history, despite the parallels to be drawn to Chechnya (or Iraq, or, of course, any of several dozen anti-imperialist revolutions ongoing as I speak). Although we sympathize with Georges and his team of half-asses, never are we shown a second of tsarist injustice or poverty. It's as if the dynamite-happy crew were fighting for abstract ideas and nothing more.

VANISHED EMPIRE (2008; December 4 at 7:30 pm) is Shakhnazarov's return to contemplating Soviet youth, this time in the mid '70s, when to be a restless teenager in the outlying Russian cities meant seeing little or no future on the bleak horizon and instead looking to Western music and culture for short-term salvation. Post-adolescent rebellion in this context ran the risk of being officially addressed by state force, of course — something that's kept to the background of Shakhnazarov's universalized scenario. The film's explosion of period details and Archies songs and petulant post-adolescent confusions is pungent, if a little familiar, to us as well as to Russians; the relationship between, say, Marlen Kutsiev's true-blue '60s landmark July Rain (1966) and Shakhnazarov's retrospective opus could be said to echo that between The Graduate and . . . Across the Universe, minus the strainingly ironic song numbers and the crass Taymor-ness? The more youth crises travel across cultures, the more they stay the same.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
Related: Movies from outer space, K is for clown, Marx in Somerville, More more >
  Topics: Features , Communism, Museum of Fine Arts, Bolshevik Party,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MICHAEL ATKINSON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   REVIEW: FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN  |  March 06, 2013
    A contemporary mirror of 1967's multidirector lefty-agitprop masterpiece Far from Vietnam , this omnibus epic plumbs the American quagmire in Central Asia from the aesthetic viewpoints of five western filmmakers assembled by John Gianvito (who also contributes a segment), plus a cadre of Afghan locals called Afghan Voices.
  •   OVERDRIVE: THE FILMS OF LEOS CARAX  |  February 11, 2013
    Every Carax shot is a new way to feel about something...
  •   AUTEUR LIMITS: THE FILMS OF STANLEY KUBRICK  |  January 30, 2013
    There will never be another Stanley — cinema's greatest loner-demigod, the hermit CEO of hip public culture for decades running, the filmmaker-artiste everyone could obsess about even if they didn't know any other working director by name.
  •   REVIEW: NOTHING BUT A MAN (1964)  |  January 08, 2013
    Michael Roemer's modest, eloquent, New Wave-y micro-movie — made independently in 1964 — is essential viewing for its matter-of-fact look at an average black man's struggle for dignity in the Deep South in the early '60s.
  •   REVIEW: THE DEEP BLUE SEA  |  March 29, 2012
    Like a bad dream trapped in amber, Terence Davies's studied film adaptation of Terence Rattigan's famous 1952 play is both spectrally beautiful and frozen in self-regard.

 See all articles by: MICHAEL ATKINSON