It Doesn’t Hurt

Russia's domestically popular, aging enfant terrible Alexei Balabanov explores his gentler side in "It Doesn't Hurt," a clumsily made romance which thankfully eschews the racist elements that marred helmer's last, "Dead Man's Bluff," and the preening nationalism of his "Brother" franchise.

With:
With: Renata Litvinova, Aleksandr Yatsenko, Dmitry Dyuzhev, Nikita Mikhalkov, Inga Oboldina, Valentin Kuzinetsov, Sergei Makovetsky.

Russia’s domestically popular, aging enfant terrible Alexei Balabanov explores his gentler side in “It Doesn’t Hurt,” a clumsily made romance which thankfully eschews the racist elements that marred helmer’s last, “Dead Man’s Bluff,” and the preening nationalism of his “Brother” franchise. Lead femme Renata Litvinova submits a Bette Davis-like turn as a rich man’s mistress who takes a younger lover on the side. However, even she can’t save “Hurt” from its painfully banal, would-be tragic ending. Pic opened well locally on June 15, but looks most likely go straight to ancillary offshore.

Budding developer Misha (Aleksandr Yatsenko) and his colleagues — ex-soldier Oleg (Balabanov-regular Dmitry Dyuzhev) and tom-boy Alya (Inga Oboldina) — share dilapidated digs in St. Petersburg while they build a business renovating apartments. Meet-cute between Misha and Tati (Litvinova) takes place when she hires his firm to overhaul her spacious home, owned by her jealous, Mafioso lover (Nikita Mikhalkov). After practically jumping Misha’s at-first hesitant bones, Tati wins him over with her kooky, free-spirit ways. Tech package is below par for Balabanov, suggesting less than enthusiastic commitment from helmer to material.

It Doesn't Hurt

Russia

Production: A Nashe Kino (in Commonwealth of Independent States) release of a CTB Film Co. production. (International sales: Intercinema, Moscow.) Produced by Sergei Selyanov. Directed by Alexei Balabanov. Screenplay, Valery Mnatsakanov.

Crew: Camera (color), Sergei Astakhov; editor, Tatiana Kuzmichiova; music, Vadim Samoylev; art director, Pavel Parkhomenko; costumes, Tatian Patrakhaltseva. Reviewed at Open Russian Film Festival (competing), Sochi, June 10, 2006. (Also in Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 101 MIN.

With: With: Renata Litvinova, Aleksandr Yatsenko, Dmitry Dyuzhev, Nikita Mikhalkov, Inga Oboldina, Valentin Kuzinetsov, Sergei Makovetsky.

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