×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Me

Russian drama has plenty of style and sass.

With:
With: Artur Smolyaninov, Andrei Khabarov, Oksana Akinshina, Aleksey Gorbunov, Pyotr Zaychenko, Anna Mikhalkova, Maria Shalayeva, Aleksei Poluyan, Mikhail Evlanov.

Sort of a cross, plotwise, between “Trainspotting” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Russian drama “Me” follows an 18-year-old druggie’s efforts to dodge national service by feigning madness in the early 1990s. Sadly, its characters are not quite as outrageously costumed and made up as those in helmer Igor Voloshin’s previous feature “Nirvana,” but pic still has plenty of style and sass, and the script’s better this time. “Me” has the makings of a cult hit at home among young audiences and would make ideal fodder for midnight movie slots at offshore fests.

Glasnost has arrived. The Soviet Union is about to break up, and old conventions are breaking down. A gang of young people in Sevastopol enjoy their newfound freedom, getting high on the drugs newly flooding the market and wearing punk gear 10 years after everyone in the West has moved on to other fashions.

Pic’s adolescent protagonist, Geroi (beaky but charismatic Artur Smolyaninov), is drawn into their circle and eventually becomes good friends with the gang’s leader and chief drug dealer, Rumin (Aleksey Gorbunov), who’s first seen arriving at a party in slow-mo, surrounded by babes, dressed in finest gold and sequined bling. (Voloshin likes this sequence so much, he shows it twice.)

However, when Geroi is called up for national service, his only way out is to either appear mad or convince the authorities he’s gay. Opting for the first, he’s sent to one of those horrifically dilapidated mental hospitals that are always showing up in Russian movies. Life’s no picnic in the nuthouse under the stern rule of chief doctor Elizabeta (Anna Mikhalkova, who also produced). Fortunately, Geroi meets and woos beautiful nurse Nina (Oksana Akinshina, “Lilya 4-Ever,” “Hipsters”).

The story skips around quite a bit, taking in subplots about Rumin and some of the other characters, and occasionally bursting into the odd fantasy sequence, such as one fab interlude in which Nina lip-syncs to “Venus.” All this somewhat disguises fact that the script, despite its earthy, often funny dialogue, is a rather shambolic affair, but nonetheless sharper than the melodrama of “Nirvana.” That said, the larky atmosphere gives way at the end to an elegiac tone in which the deaths of several characters are foretold.

Suspicion grows — especially given the pic’s title and the fact that helmer grew up in Sevastopol — that it’s all a bit autobiographical. Direction certainly feels impassioned and personal, and Voloshin’s talent for visual excess is much in evidence. Perfs are solid, if not outstanding.

Tech credits reunite most of the key craftspeople from “Nirvana” with impressive results, especially in the lighting and lensing department under Dmitri Yashonkov. Soundtrack, chosen by music supervisor Alexander Kopeykin, reps the right kind of retro.

Me

Russia

Production: A VVP-Alliance production. (International sales: VVP-Alliance, Moscow.) Produced by Anna Mikhalkova, Maxim Korolev. Directed, written by Igor Voloshin.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Dmitri Yashonkov; editor, Tatiana Kuzmicheva; music supervisor, Alexander Kopeykin; production designer, Pavel Parkhomenko; art directors, Parkhomenko, Nadezhda Vasilyeva; costume designer, Nadezhda Vasilyeva; sound (Dolby Digital), Maxim Romasevich; sound designer, Alexander Kopeikin. Reviewed at Sochi Open Russian Film Festival (competing), June 12, 2009. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Artur Smolyaninov, Andrei Khabarov, Oksana Akinshina, Aleksey Gorbunov, Pyotr Zaychenko, Anna Mikhalkova, Maria Shalayeva, Aleksei Poluyan, Mikhail Evlanov.

More Film

  • Song Ge

    Beijing Culture's Song Ge Urges Mainstream Directors to Toe Government Line

    Publicity-shy Beijing Culture chairman Song Ge took to the stage at his company’s first-ever press conference to promote a film slate. He openly urged film directors to, for the sake of their investors, stick to material that would please the Chinese state. “I think if you’re shooting an art house or smaller budget films, it’s [...]

  • Iran presentation at Shanghai film festival

    Shanghai: China-Iran Heading Towards Co-Production Treaty

    “China has signed co-production agreements with 22 countries. Similar agreements between Iran and China are in the works, and will be signed by the end of this year,” said Miao Xiaotian, GM of the China Film Co-Production Corporation on Monday. Miao was speaking at the Shanghai International Film Festival, which is hosting a six-title Focus Iran section [...]

  • Roland Emmerich

    Shanghai: Roland Emmerich, Frant Gwo on China's Sci-fi Prospects

    Iconic Chinese and Hollywood directors Frant Gwo and Roland Emmerich did not take the stage together at the Shanghai International Film Festival, but on Monday they got the chance to praise each other’s movies and share insights into sci-fi. “I totally understand why it did well,” said “Independence Day” director Emmerich of Gwo’s recent “Wandering [...]

  • Beyond the Mountain

    ‘Beyond the Mountain,’ ‘Fireflies,’ ‘The Chambermaid’ Top Lleida Latin American Film Fest

    BARCELONA  — David R. Romay’s feature debut “Beyond the Mountain” snagged Best Feature at Lleida’s 25th Latin America Film Festival of Catalonia, hosted in the world’s culinary capital for grilled snails, 84 miles west of Barcelona. A dramatic thriller starring Benny Emmanuel (Gael García Bernal’s “Chicuarotes”), it follows Miguel, a young, solitary man whose routine [...]

  • shanghai skyline China Placeholder

    Shanghai: Tencent, Phoenix Win Rights to Taiwan Documentary 'Love Talk' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tencent has acquired the online video streaming rights and Phoenix Hong Kong the TV rights to Taiwanese documentary “Love Talk,” which takes a deep dive into the topic of marriage. The film is currently working towards a mainland theatrical release. Directed by Shen Ko-Shang (“A Rolling Stone”), it is produced by CNEX Studio and 7th [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content