Berlin-based sales outfit M-Appeal has acquired “No Looking Back,” a dark action film with a dysfunctional family at its core, in which three generations of warring women face-off. The film world premiered at Kinotavr – Open Russian Film Festival in September and makes its international premiere at Tallinn Black Nights Intl. Film Festival in November in the main competition section.
The film is director Kirill Sokolov’s follow-up to black comedy “Why Don’t You Just Die!,” which competed at Sitges and closed multiple deals worldwide, marking out Sokolov as an up-and-coming auteur.
The film centers on Olga, a troubled woman who has just been released from prison and been reunited with her 10-year-old daughter, Masha. Masha has been in the care of Olga’s overbearing mother, Vera. The tempestuous relationship between Olga and Vera is instantaneously reignited, resulting in a violent altercation. This prompts Olga to take off with Masha in the hope of starting a new life. What ensues is a tense, action packed chase, with Vera in hot pursuit, determined to get her granddaughter back, whatever the cost.
“The film subverts the classic ideology of nurturing maternal instincts, as we witness the chaos that results from the complete breakdown of a relationship between an unhinged mother and child,” M-Appeal said in a statement. “With an impressively slick production, the brutality of the action is intricately captured, immersing the audience in the world of these familial women at war. A vibrant palette gives the film an almost dream like quality, resulting in an edgy, visually arresting aesthetic.”
In a statement, Sokolov said: “I knew that the story might seem gloomy because we talk about toxic family ties and painful mother-daughter relations in the context of modern Russia. However, I aimed to make an entertaining, action-packed, dynamic movie, full of twists and turns. So that’s why we came to a form of a kind of dark, fairy-tale adventure.”
Sokolov added that the film is full of references to other movies, including “Thelma & Louise” and “Wild at Heart.”
This is the director’s second feature film, and also marks the second collaboration between M-Appeal and Artem Vasilyev’s MetraFilms, following “The Humorist,” which sold well internationally. Both films are produced by Vasilyev, who has already earned international success with films like Aleksey German Jr.’s “Dovlatov” and “Paper Soldier,” Aleksey Fedorchenko’s “Anna’s War,” and Roman Vasyanov’s “The Dorm.” One of the company’s most recent films, “House Arrest” by Aleksey German Jr., was selected for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
Two other M-Appeal titles play at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival: “The Swimmer,” which follows a gay swimmer training for a place on the Olympic team, and “Wild Roots,” which was honored with the Works in Progress Award in Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s industry section.