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Cannes Film Review: ‘Bite the Dust’

Audiences are likely to feel impatient with this leaden Russian black comedy

With:
Cast: Sergey Abroskin, Maksim Vitorgan, Yola Sanko, Yuris Laucinsh, Alina Sergeeva, Dmitry Kulichkov, Anna Rud, Irina Denisova.

“Killing us is taking an awfully long time,” remarks one character in “Bite the Dust,” and audiences are likely to feel a similar weary impatience with this leaden Russian black comedy. Revolving around a bunch of hicks in the sticks awaiting world’s end, Taisia Igumentseva’s feature debut is bogged down with both a literal flood and an ever-growing tide of overacting and undercooked gags, plus an overeager need to seem quirky and cute. Local viewers may smile more indulgently on this, but pic will bite the dust indeed beyond the fest circuit.

In a remote region, an unnamed township — composed of little more than eight adults, two kids, a cow and a dog — learns that an astronomical phenomenon is about to wipe out 90% of humanity. After some token keening and wrenching of garments, they settle in for the apocalypse in typically phlegmatic Russian fashion by getting drunk, having adulterous sex and telling blunt home truths before the end. What actually happens at the end remains unclear, but honestly, who cares? Art director Eldar Karhalev has an embarrassing style crush on “Delicatessen.”

Cannes Film Review: 'Bite the Dust'

Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Special Screenings), May 18, 2013. Running time: 101 MIN. Original title: "Otdat konci"

Production: (Russia) A Rock Films production with support of the Russian Ministry of Culture, the Cinefoundation of the Cannes Film Festival. (International sales: Versatile, Paris.) Produced by Alexey Uchitel. Co-producer, Kira Saksaganskaya.

Crew: Directed by Taisia Igumentseva. Screenplay, Alexandra Golovina. Camera (color, HD), Sasha Tananov; editor, Ekaterina Shahunova; art director, Eldar Karhalev; costume designer, Nadezhda Vasilieva; sound (Dolby Digital), Arkady Noskov, Timur Maksimov.

With: Cast: Sergey Abroskin, Maksim Vitorgan, Yola Sanko, Yuris Laucinsh, Alina Sergeeva, Dmitry Kulichkov, Anna Rud, Irina Denisova.

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