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Khrustalyov, My Car!
|Khrustalyov, My Car!|
|Directed by||Aleksei German|
|Produced by||Aleksandr Golutva
|Written by||Aleksei German
|Music by||Andrey Petrov|
|Edited by||Irina Gorokhovskaya|
|Distributed by||PolyGram Filmed Entertainment|
Khrustalyov, My Car! (Russian: Хрусталёв, машину!, romanized: Khrustalyov, mashinu!) is a 1998 Russian comedy-drama film directed by Aleksei German and written by German and Svetlana Karmalita. It was produced by Canal+, CNC, Goskino, Lenfilm and VGTRK.
On the first day of the cold spring of 1953 two events occur, not comparable in importance: fireman Fedya Aramyshev is arrested and "the greatest leader of all times and peoples" Joseph Stalin is found lying on the floor of his dacha.
Some time before these incidents the life of military-medical service general Yuri Klensky is shown. In the Soviet Union the Doctors' plot rages to the utmost extent, but the jewish Klensky, cheering himself up with almost non-stop drunkenness hopes that the punishing sword of Soviet justice will not touch him. However, a number of events show that Klensky's hopes are futile, and soon arrest will follow. At first the General meets his own double in the hospital, and then in his house there is a "foreigner" bearing news that allegedly his relative lives abroad. Klensky, suspecting that it is a provocation, releases the "foreigner" from the stairs, but a local snitch manages to report in time to the MGB senior about the doctor's contact with foreigners.
Klensky tries to escape but ends up getting arrested. The General's family is evicted and is placed in a crowded communal apartment and Klensky himself after detention is left in free rein to the criminals who brutally beat and rape the General. But then a miracle happens: the bloody General is driven directly from the cell to the country to a certain "high-ranking" patient, who the shocked Klensky learns to be the "Great Leader". Stalin's state is hopeless, he is dying while wheezing and agonizing, and Beria's voice full of triumph utters the first sentence of post-Stalinist Russia, "Khrustalyov, My Car!".
Klensky is immediately released, but he does not return to medicine, the General "goes to the people". At the end of the film he being commandant of a train, happily drinks, and then balances a glass of port on his shaved head...
During the Cannes premiere of Khrustalyov, My Car!, numerous critics walked out of the screening in disapproval due to its obtuse narrative and lengthy "unfunny" scenes of visual satire. However, film director Martin Scorsese, the jury president for Cannes in 1998, considered it to be the best film in the festival that year. Jacques Mandelbaum of Le Monde also gave the film praise, writing that it is a "carnivalesque record of the Soviet era", and belongs to a category of cinema that "challenges all categories of taste". J.-M. Duran of the Lyon-based newspaper Le Progrès stated that the film is "incomprehensible, but bewitching", and compared its director Aleksei German to Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini.
Upon its re-release by Arrow Films in December 2018, the film was given renewed critical acclaim. British film critic Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film five out of five stars, describing it as "a surreal fantasia-epic and nihilist political satire of cynicism and violence". Tara Brady of The Irish Times gave it four out of five stars, stating that "People come and go without introduction or elucidation. All of them are in keeping with the Soviet auteur’s grim view of humanity."
- "Khrustalyov, My Car!". Film at Lincoln Center. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Brady, Tara (21 December 2018). "Khrustalyov, My Car! Maddening miscellany of Russian horrors". The Irish Times. The Irish Times DAC. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Bergan, Ronald (26 February 2013). "Aleksei German obituary". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- "Festival de Cannes: Khrustalyov, My Car!". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
- "Khrustalyov, My Car! Blu-ray". Arrow Films. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Божович, Мария (March 2000). "Гениальность отчаяния. Французская пресса о фильме Алексея Германа "Хрусталев, машину!"". Iskusstvo Kino (in Russian). Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Bradshaw, Peter (14 December 2018). "Khrustalyov, My Car! review – delirious and visually amazing Russian gem". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- "1999". Russian Guild of Film Critics.
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