Russkoye

Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut, a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Charismatic central perf by rising thesp Andrei Chadov merits a look, particularly by casting agents in search of young Slavic talent.

With:
With: Andrei Chadov, Olga Arntgolts, Evdokiya Germanova, Mikhail Efpremov, Galina Polskikh, Vladimir Steklov, Dmitri Dyuzhev, Viktor Rakov, Alexei Gorbunov, Maxim Lagashkin, Alexander Robak, Nelli Novedina, Anatoly Zalyubovsky, Yuri Vaksman, Oleg Lopukhov.

Established Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut in “Russkoye,” a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Story of tough-but-soulful anti-hero who ends up in the loony bin after a suicide attempt is nothing new, but charismatic central perf by rising thesp Andrei Chadov (star of Alexei Balabanov’s “War”) merits a look, particularly by casting agents in search of young Slavic talent.

It’s 1959, the time of Sputnik and Khrushchev’s “thaw,” in the provincial town of Kharkov. Eduard, aka “Edichka” (Chadov), a wannabe teenage poet, spends more time hanging with his flyboy buddies, talking trash about Elvis Presley, and pining for pretty but snooty Sveta (Olga Arntgolts) than he does studying for his exams. Mom Raisa (Evdokiya Germanova) and her cop b.f., Mikhail (Mikhail Efpremov), who may or may not be Eduard’s father, nag him and fret about his future.

Their worries are justified. Eduard is prone to get involved in street riots and one night breaks into a grocery story, searching for funds to help woo Sveta. When he spots the teenage temptress walking out with a rival, Eduard contemplates killing her, but instead makes a half-hearted attempt at slitting his wrists.

Mom has him committed to the infamous Savenko asylum, which in the past was a temporary home to several real-life poets such as Velimir Khlebnikov. The place becomes Eduard’s university and proving ground, as he bonds with the likable, not-very-crazy nut mix.

Veledinsky, best known for co-penning popular TV shows like “Brigade” and “Law,” crafts a pleasingly coherent, albeit unavoidably episodic, narrative out of several of Limonov’s Beat Generation-influenced books. Written in exile and banned for many years in the Soviet Union, these featured an expressive prose style and untranslatable, slang-stuffed banter — which Veledinsky has faithfully transposed here.

Helmer shows a real flair in key set pieces, such as a street riot that glides into slow-mo when a crazy old woman is attacked by the police, and an impressively staged fire at the asylum in pic’s latter stages.

Pic is a showpiece for the talents of young Chadov, onscreen for nearly the entire film, and convincingly making the transition from callow youth to embittered, damaged young man. A touch cross-eyed but still fetchingly handsome, he has the strutting air of a young, slim Leonardo Di Caprio.

Lenser Pavel Ignatov manages to cast light glints in the actors’ eyes, and favors glowering, darkly-lit compositions. Color palette tends toward sepia, with bright splashes of Communist red dotted around the clothes and sets.

For the record, the real Limonov, now back in his homeland, is a leading light of the kooky, ultra-nationalist National Bolshevik Party, and was recently imprisoned on terrorism charges, then released. Though pic features one rough-skinned thug who talks down Slavic courage but gets his comeuppance eventually, Veledinsky mostly keeps politics out of the film, apart from the obligatory potshots at the repressive ways of the former Soviet regime.

Title literally means “Russian.” An official English title has yet to be decided on.

Russkoye

Russia

Production: A Cinemafour Co., Trial-Bloch production. (International sales: Cinemafour, Moscow.) Produced by Maxim Lagashin, Alexander Robak, Alexei Alyakin. Directed, written by Alexander Veledinsky, based on stories by Eduard Limonov.

Crew: Camera (color), Pavel Ignatov; music, Alexei Zubarev; production designer, Ilya Amursky; art director, Yuri Osipenko; costumes, Alina Budnikova, Lyudmila Ilyutkina; sound (Dolby Digital), Grigory Pilshchik. Reviewed at Moscow Film Festival (Perspectives), June 24, 2004. Running time: 118 MIN.

With: With: Andrei Chadov, Olga Arntgolts, Evdokiya Germanova, Mikhail Efpremov, Galina Polskikh, Vladimir Steklov, Dmitri Dyuzhev, Viktor Rakov, Alexei Gorbunov, Maxim Lagashkin, Alexander Robak, Nelli Novedina, Anatoly Zalyubovsky, Yuri Vaksman, Oleg Lopukhov.

More Film

  • (L to R) Young Tanya (JESSICA

    Box Office: 'Mamma Mia' Shoots Past 'Equalizer 2' in Thursday Night Shows

    Established Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut in “Russkoye,” a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Story of tough-but-soulful anti-hero who ends up in the loony bin after a suicide attempt is nothing new, but charismatic central perf […]

  • Disney Cycles VR Short Film

    Disney Animation's First VR Film, 'Cycles,' Set to Premiere

    Established Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut in “Russkoye,” a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Story of tough-but-soulful anti-hero who ends up in the loony bin after a suicide attempt is nothing new, but charismatic central perf […]

  • Apollo 11

    Neon Buys 'Apollo 11' Moon Landing Documentary

    Established Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut in “Russkoye,” a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Story of tough-but-soulful anti-hero who ends up in the loony bin after a suicide attempt is nothing new, but charismatic central perf […]

  • Locarno: Intramovies Takes Sales on Inquisition

    Locarno: Intramovies Takes World Sales on Inquisition Drama 'Menocchio' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Established Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut in “Russkoye,” a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Story of tough-but-soulful anti-hero who ends up in the loony bin after a suicide attempt is nothing new, but charismatic central perf […]

  • Cats review

    Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellen Cast in Movie Version of 'Cats'

    Established Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut in “Russkoye,” a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Story of tough-but-soulful anti-hero who ends up in the loony bin after a suicide attempt is nothing new, but charismatic central perf […]

  • In this undated photo released by

    Six Thai Cave Rescue Films Now in Development

    Established Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut in “Russkoye,” a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Story of tough-but-soulful anti-hero who ends up in the loony bin after a suicide attempt is nothing new, but charismatic central perf […]

  • Quien te cantara

    Iciar Bollain, Isaki Lacuesta, Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Carlos Vermut Join San Sebastian Competition

    Established Russo TV scripter Alexander Veledinsky offers a sturdy feature debut in “Russkoye,” a serio-comic portrait of the artist as a young hooligan, adapted from the autobiographical writings of controversial scribe Eduard Limonov. Story of tough-but-soulful anti-hero who ends up in the loony bin after a suicide attempt is nothing new, but charismatic central perf […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content