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Parallel Voices

Peculiar yet mesmerizing, "Parallel Voices," the first film in 14 years from one-time eminent exile Rustam Khamdanov (helmer of 1991 Cannes competitor "Anna Karamazov"), reps a unique operatic fantasia. Diva Renata Litvinova and others sing classic arias and duets, wear fabulous 1940s-style outfits (designed by helmer) and bemoan the passing of time and all things.

Peculiar yet mesmerizing, “Parallel Voices,” the first film in 14 years from one-time eminent exile Rustam Khamdanov (helmer of 1991 Cannes competitor “Anna Karamazov”), reps a unique operatic fantasia. Diva Renata Litvinova and others sing classic arias and duets, wear fabulous 1940s-style outfits (designed by helmer) and bemoan the passing of time and all things. Although less weird and with better tunes, result is reminiscent of work by experimental artist-helmer Matthew Barney (the “Cremaster” cycle) but will probably be even less commercial. Still, auds at arty-inclined fests could sing its praises.

Pic has no proper plot, although there are characters of sorts. Clad in a white fur jacket and a series of fetching little hats, leggy blond soprano Litvinova strolls around the wild Uzbek countryside and what looks like a crumbling factory singing and occasionally uttering gnomic utterances about the human voice and the nature of memory. She’s joined by Uzbek soprano Roza Dzhamanova, wearing mostly native dress, while other singers fill out the cast. Exceedingly short but dense, pic is generally entrancing but almost feels like a gallery installation piece. Tech package is pro.

Parallel Voices

Kazakhstan - Russia

  • Production: A Gala TV (Russia), Kazakhfilm production with the participation of Kinoprom. (International sales: Kazakhfilm, Almaty, Kazakhstan.) Produced by Galina Kuzembaeva. Directed by Rustam Khamdanov. Screenplay, Renata Litvinova, Khamdamov.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Rifkat Ibragimov, Sergei Mokritsky; music, Guissepe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Mikhail Glinka, Robert Schumann; production-costume designer, Khamdamov. Reviewed at Sochi Open Russian Film Festival (special screening), June 12, 2005. Kazak, Russian dialogue. Running time: 64 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Renata Litvinova, Erik Salim-Meruert, Arakasia Davtian, Roza Dzhamanova, Bibigul Tuligenova.
  • Music By: