Me too: the version of Apocalypse by Russian director Aleksey Balabanov

poster_IAWI_3_CS5_NEW_2 A weighty cinematographic statement on the topic of Apocalypse.  Я тоже хочу/“Me too” is a parable, told by the most distinctive Russian filmmaker – Alexey Balabanov. In order to create his masterpiece, Balabanov does not need professional actors or incredible scenery…“Me too” is a movie of a commonplace abandoned village with flaky churches and beheaded belfries… it is amazing how such banality turns into a movie of the highest standard.

Anton Dolin,  film critic

Not exactly a road movie

The whole movie, in short, starts with five people traveling on Russian terrains in a black jeep somewhere in between St. Petersburg and Uglich. The purpose of their journey is to find a mystical Belfry of Happiness. According to the legend, told by a priest during one of the travelers, a bandit, confession. Something abnormal happened there and now this land became anomalous zone of eternal nuclear winter. No one returns from this abnormal permafrost zone. Some people who deserve Happiness will reach the ruined Belfry and its magic crater  will get them but those who won’t will die alone in radiation.

So, there are five marginal people in the car, ready to embark the quest to find Happiness – all of whom are pure Russian stereotypes – Bandit, Alcoholic, Retired senior, Musician and Prostitute named Luba (which means Love). Will all of these outcasts will find their happiness…?

Into the mood

The landscape dictates the mood of the film. With every frame Balabanov-director creates a mythological space of dilapidated houses, crooked carnises and industrial off-towns with its plants and pipes. This entropy has its own beauty and makes you contemplate and plunge into the depth of the frame, how only great cinematic work can do. The constant repetition of the same few phrases from the soundtrack by Leonid Fedorov of Russian art rock band “Auktion” adds an extra effect by enhancing a world where words become unimportant yielding to it’s true purpose…a state of obsession. This melody meditates and lasts and lasts throughout the movie similar to the hopelessness of existence the characters experience before the Apocalypse.  They have already set their purpose on Happiness and have nothing to lose.

I would highly recommend you to check this movie out if you seek to find the most Russian-underground- parable-true art experience.

Cast:

Written and directed by Alexey Balabanov

Director of photography  – Alexander Simonov

Aleksandr Mosin, Jurij Matveyev, rock musician Oleg Garkusha (from the band “Auktyon“), Alisa Shitikova, prophet teen Peter Balabanov and Alexey Balabanov himself.

Music: Leonid Fedorov
Editor: Tatyana Kuzmicheva

Producer: Sergey Selyanov

Production company: CTB Film Company

Festivals:

The movie already received several acclaims:

Premiere at the 69th Venice Film Festival in program “Horizons”.

Best director at the “The Golden Angel” at the International Film Festival in St. Petersburg

Best screenplay and the Audience Award at the International Festival of Independent Cinema”2morrow/Zavtra”

What other Balabanov’s movies have you seen? Which movie do you like the most? Share your experience in comments

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About zinasemenova

Russian filmmaker and blogger at filmcareer.wordpress.com

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