AND OTHETR NIGHTMARES
From reviews :
York, Oct. 22 — Amid the storm of Russian voices that rose after
a recent screening of director Andrei Nekrasov's new film about the deterioration
of Russian society since the collapse of the Soviet Union, one angry woman's
was particularly insistent: "Why are you wearing a red shirt? What's
the significance of that color for you?"
accustomed to the controversy since Lubov and Other Nightmares
was released in Russia last year, smiled and shrugged. "My shirt?"
he said. "Coincidence."
Whatever else can be said about Nekrasov, who has studied in the United
States and Britain and has directed plays in his native St. Petersburg
and throughout Europe, he's no communist — but he may not be much
of a capitalist, either.
He says he's
turned down numerous offers to make the kind of commercial thrillers that
are as popular in Russia as their Hollywood counterparts are in the United
States. He filmed this movie on a shoestring budget, using primarily an
amateur cast, and what he calls the "criminal subplot" is more
Crime and Punishment than Get Shorty.
Lubov and Other Nightmares may be the most accurate depiction
on film of the state of Russian society in what Nekrasov calls "the
year 0, when everything has to be reinvented," as Western influences
are embraced by the young and older generations look with nostalgia to
a seemingly glorious past.
It may be that accuracy, and the bristling intelligence of Nekrasov's
vision — critical of both the Soviet past and the leadership of
the present — that has caused the controversy in a public hungry
"If I were a politician or a diplomat I'd find a different language
to discuss problems," Nekrasov said in an interview after the screening
at the New York Festival of Russian Film. "As a filmmaker, I think
it's my duty to find as acute a language as possible to discuss these
The movie is a kind of cinematic stream-of-consciousness, interlacing
black-and-white footage that often recalls the silent films of Soviet
master Sergei Eisenstein, grainy color sequences and newsreel footage
into the main narrative, which is shot in sometimes breathtaking color.
‘Oppressed and Insulted’
The story is literally seen through the eyes of a young filmmaker who
uses his camera and fluency in English to seduce women. He becomes involved
with a female assassin who he encounters when she mistakenly targets him
as he flees the home of one of his conquests. The assassin at first takes
him for the businessman husband of the woman he has just slept with, a
man who is her next victim.
Though telling of the story is anything but traditional — Nekrasov
mentions Andrei Tarkovsky, the experimental Soviet-era director, and Ingmar
Bergman as influences — it is laced with references to Dostoevsky.
Even with its formal innovations, Nekrasov's film is rooted in the tradition
of Russian writers and artists as social conscience exemplified by the
work of Gogol, Turgenev and Dostoevsky, a tradition that was all but obliterated
under 70 years of Soviet rule.
It is not news that the transition to a free market economy has been disastrous
for the majority of Russians, as the social services maintained by the
Soviets have been abandoned, creating a new class of Oppressed and
Insulted, as Dostoevsky called them in the title of his first St.
Capturing the tragicomic Wild West atmosphere of today's Russia seems
to be the aim of numerous films; "Lubov and Other Nightmares"
is one of the few that succeeds without specifically trying. Densely
structured and shot, pic takes the viewer through layer upon layer of
masquerade, corruption, sexuality and emotions. Challenging and offbeat
in the extreme. Olga Konskaia, pic's producer and leading actress,
delivers a startling perfomance, wich includes some intense sex scenes.
As the vulgar but honest assassin Lubov, cast out from society and driven
by her feelings, she embodies the victims of the new Russia with sad tenderness.
One of the most impressive films of the festivals a very strong,
direct movie about love, personal memories and the New Russia that leaves
you dizzy after seeing it.
The Daily Tiger, Rotterdam IFF, 29.01.01
complex and visually powerful film
about love, the situation in the new Russia and Western attitudes to it.
Pictures Berlinale Daily, N 2 10.02.2001
Nekrasov is regarded as today's hope for Russian's tradition of film directing.
Moving Pictures Berlinale Daily, N 11 15.02.2001
the most talented Russian directors today,
Nekrasov achieves with his virtuoso editing the effect of shock. The archive
footage, the provocative captions a la Godar and the sound track all work
in powerful concert
XXL Moscow, 27.01.2001
between dream and reality, Lubov and other nightmares is a sexy, intellectually
delicious, and darkly playful poetic treatise on the technological
anxieties and general disorientation surrounding the reinvention of post-Communist,
post-postmodern, "post-everything" Russia
Using an electric
rush of computer-generated images, Super-8-footage, and luscious 35mm
images of St.Petersburg, Andrei Nekrasov crafts a dense and brilliantly
fractured story narrative and portrait of the city
Lubov and other
nightmares is rock candy that, if patiently savored, will provide pleasure
for a long time.
Sundance Film Festival 2001 catalogue
movie about russian/western tension
Lubov's great charms is that it refuses to take itself too