The international arthouse inroads that opened up to Yuri Mamin’s “Window to Paris” look to be swiftly sealed off to his new feature, “Rains in the Ocean,” a sodden metaphor for Russia’s eternal class struggle. Mamin stepped in to complete the film following the death of original director Viktor Aristov, and the result is an unfocused serving of indigestible whimsy that will probably be restricted to the most esoteric of fest slates.
Events kick off on a grand old ocean liner. The decadent goings-on among the ship’s well-heeled passengers are given stately presentation by Juri Vorontsov’s camera, but offer few clues as to which direction the film might take. Just as things are beginning to settle in, story shifts gears abruptly with a change of setting.
A young passenger with romantic aspirations, Lilian (Alena Molchanova), jumps overboard, followed by Carter (Sergei Rozhuk), a dapper engineer who may or may not have committed a murder, and Simons (Juri Belyaev), the cop who wants to arrest him. Left behind by the ship, they bob around on the ocean’s surface for a good slice of the running time.
As the trio exchange stories about being orphaned, abandoned and disappointed in the past, pic takes on an almost appealing indolence. An attraction fires up between Lilian and Carter, while Simons appears to be pushed aside. A rusty barge floats up and they climb aboard. Discovery of a barrel of wine leads briefly to euphoria, then to disaster via a rape and a death. Final revelation is ho-hum.
Directed with a journeyman-like efficiency but little verve, the film plays like a lame throwback. Similar political agendas were more subtly tackled in the average pre-glasnost pic than in the lumbering rape equation used here.