Sunday, December 28, 2014

Me Too! (orig. я тоже хочу) [2012]

MPAA (UR would be R) (8.0/10) (8.5/10) (4.3/10) (3.8/5)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing listing* listing* listing* listing* (A. Sotnikova) review* (V. Lyaschenko) review* (L. Smolin) review* (S. Ternovski) review* (V. Kavalevich) review* (M. Chemodanov) review* (L. Pavlyuchik) review* (I. Gireiev) review*

Cine-Vue (J. Bleasdale) review
Eye For Film (M. Pattison) review (B. Behn) review*

Me Too! (orig. я тоже хочу) [2012] [IMDb] []* []*[]* (written, directed and costarring Aleksey Balabanov [IMDb] []* []* []*) is a rather "uncomplicated" Russian pop-cultural "apocalyptic story" (hence a mix of New Age and good-ole-fashioned Russian Orthodoxy) about a car load of "regular folk" Russians who set-off from St. Petersburg to the outlying countryside in search of the remains of a Russian Orthodox church whose bell-tower as a result of a "hushed up" mini-Chernobyl-like nuclear accident some years back is rumored to have become some sort of a conduit/portal to a "land of perpetual happiness."

The film played last year at the 2013 New York Russian Film Week.  I've chosen to look the film up, view it and review it here because I've grown tired (and even somewhat scared of the implications of) a very stilted one-dimensional portrayal of Russia / Russians today (a portrayal that ironically BOTH the current Putin government in Russia AND the West seem TO WANT TO PROPAGATE). 

So this film may both amuse and pleasantly surprise a fair number of Western readers here because the film's setup honestly is like the beginning of a send-up / joke: a Bandit (played by Aleksander Mosin [IMDb] []* []*), a Musician (played by Oleg Garkusha [IMDb] []* []*), an Alcoholic friend of the two (played by Yuriy Matveev [IMDb] []* []*), the Alcoholic''s Father (played by  [IMDb] []* []*),  and a Prostitute (played by Alisa Shitikova [IMDb] []* []*) get into a car and head-off to "a militarily cordoned-off area" somewhere "outside of town" (St. Petersburg) where it's rumored that there is the above mentioned bell-tower that many have come to believe MAY TRANSPORT SOME PEOPLE to a "Land of Perputual Happiness" ...  and much in the course of the 80 minute film ensues ;-)

Since it's a rather motley group of people in said Lada (a Russian "every man" sort of car), the film's certainly not particularly "PC."  The Bandit is, well, kinda an a-hole (though he doesn't necessarily think of himself as that way ... ;-) as is the Alcoholic.  The Musician is so artistically "avant-garde" that the "unschooled" would arguably say that he can't sing ;-).  The quite plain-looking Prostitute is of the "heart of gold" variety (she's doing it just because her mother's ill and the family needs the money).  And the elderly father doesn't say much at all.  And yet, when each of them hears of this rumored ruined bell tower that could transport them to "The Land of Perpetual Happiness" everyone of them naturally says: "Hey, me too! I wanna go too" (hence the title of the film).

Anyway, the film is honestly "a blast" ;-) ... and may actually surprise many Westerners who may honestly be convinced that Russians can't laugh or don't have a worthwhile sense of humor at all.

So this is a great little film folks that can help to quickly dissuade people of such opinions.

* Reasonably good (sense) translations of non-English webpages can be found by viewing them through Google's Chrome browser. 

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