Review: ‘Act of Nature’

A city sophisticate tries to blend in with a rural community in the intriguing, low-budget drama.

A city sophisticate tries to blend in with a rural community in the intriguing, low-budget drama “Act of Nature.” Co-directed by Sergei Osipyan (“Guys from Mars”) and screenwriter-turned-helmer Aleksandr Lungin, pic navigates a tricky course between mocking and applauding its hero’s romantic notions of the countryside; it’s just a shame the story sort of fizzles out by the end. “Nature” won’t survive long in the distribution wilds, but may find fest shelters.

Yuri (Gleb Podgorodinsky) does something vaguely media-related back in Moscow, but has loved spending a long summer holiday fishing in the marshes near his dacha (second home). His g.f., Alona (Ksenia Kutepova), is less keen on roughing it, and wants to go back home soon with their friend (Mikhail Palatnik). Yuri ends up arguing with them both and retreats into the woods, where he has various semi-humorous, semi-surreal encounters with the locals. With its gorgeous, brooding fairy tale-style landscape and skillful lensing by Roman Vasyanov, pic looks much more luscious than one would expect of a film shot using the video function of a Canon digital still camera. Thesps are also good, especially Podgorodinsky.

Act of Nature

Russia

Production

An Address Film, Metrafilms production. (International sales: Address Film, Moscow.) Produced by Violetta Krechetova, Artyom Vasiliev, Andrei Bondarenko, Alexander Lungin, Sergei Osipyan, Alexsei Karakhan, Dmitri Gorelik. Directed, written by Sergei Osipyan, Aleksandr Lungin.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Roman Vasyanov; editor, Pavel Khaniutin; music, Fyodor Sofronov; production designer, Denis Lishchenko; costume designer, Nadezhda Lukinova. Reviewed at Sochi Open Russian Film Festival (competing), June 11, 2010. Running time: 73 MIN.

With

Gleb Podgorodinsky, Ksenia Kutepova, Mikhail Palatnik, Fedor Lavrov, Igor Chernevich.
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