Cult Russian actress and screenwriter Renata Litvinova (“Sky.Plane.Girl”) stumbles through a surrealist directing debut in “Goddess,” a deliberately misleading title for a film split between dark police thriller and unstructured journey into a drug-induced dream world. Film invites unflattering comparisons with the delicately balanced work of director Kira Muratova, in whose “Three Stories” and “The Tuner” Litvinova spectacularly starred. Weird characters, strong camera images and witty set design may intrigue fest audiences but not many others.
Rather than a goddess, police detective Faina (Litvinova) comes across as an offensively dumb blonde, as she investigates, in high heels and mainly using ESP, gruesome cases of missing children. After she’s suspended from the force, she hits the skids and slips into a bizarre Alice-Through-the-Looking-Glass drug trip with a man in love with a dead woman. None of this makes much sense, narratively or emotionally. Sadly, film plays up Litvinova’s weakness for on-screen posing and downplays her virtues of humor, irony and tenderness. Handle of original Russian title translates as “How I Fell in Love.”