Review: ‘Inhale Exhale’

Sententious Russian relationship drama "Inhale Exhale," by experienced helmer Ivan Dykhovichny ("The Black Monk") starts out intriguingly but soon runs out of puff as it tracks a contrived encounter between a lonely architect and a call girl with whom he shares a past.

Sententious Russian relationship drama “Inhale Exhale,” by experienced helmer Ivan Dykhovichny (“The Black Monk”) starts out intriguingly but soon runs out of puff as it tracks a contrived encounter between a lonely architect and a call girl with whom he shares a past. Competent acting by legit thesps Igor Mirkubanov and Ekaterina Volkova as the central couple may breathe life into the pic’s theatrical prospects at home, while some very softcore lesbian scenes may get cablers panting mildly offshore.

Pic’s layers flashbacks with scenes unfolding in the present. Shaven-headed working girl Vera (Volkova) arrives at the apartment of architect Misha (Mirkubanov), seemingly for a date. The two go for a ride on a boat and lunch at seaside restaurant, all the while swapping memories. Halfway in, it’s revealed she’s his ex-wife, and that their marriage fell apart when she had an affair with a woman (Olga Dykhovichnaya). The Sapphic love scenes are so crassly the stuff of male fantasy, they’re risible, although the straight love scenes are no better. Lensing by Maxim Osadchy reps one bright spark, despite its irritating tendency to switch from color to monochrome midscene.

Inhale Exhale

Russia

Production

A D-Film production. (International sales: Gemini Film, Moscow.) Produced by Danil Khachaturov. Directed by Ivan Dykhovichny. Screenplay, Dykhovichny, Vladimir Moiseenko, Alexander Novototsky.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W), Maxim Osadchy; editor, Elena Afanasieva; music, Anton Batagov; art director, Anastasia Nefiodova; costume designer, Marianna Artiomieva. Reviewed on DVD, London, June 27, 2006. (In Open Russian Film Festival, Sochi -- Russian Euphoria. Also in Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Original title: Vdoh, Vydoh. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Igor Mirkubanov, Ekaterina Volkova, Olga Dykhovichnaya, Andrey Batukhanov, Alexander Reshetniak, Lyubov Anisimova, Roman Madianoy.
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