At the XXVII Russian Window Film Festival “Window to Europe”, the premiere of Konstantin Lopushansky’s new film Through the Black Glass premiered.

The name of the film not only refers to Ingmar Bergman, but also indicates a very specific plot detail. The young girl Nastya (Vasilisa Denisova) lives in a girl’s shelter for the visually impaired at the monastery and is going to devote herself to God. However, the case intervenes in the case, whose nature, divine or diabolical, she cannot comprehend. The unfamiliar rich man Mikhail Ostrovoy (Maxim Sukhanov) offers Nastya to pay for an expensive operation in Germany, which will return her eyesight, after which the girl will have to marry a generous sponsor.

What will happen next is not difficult to guess. Life in the dark in a poor Russian outback is replaced by a fabulous foreign country — so bright and bright that it’s easy to feel the catch. Darkness does not always mean satanic and evil, because, as you know, Lucifer is the bearer of light. It is easy to see him in a wasteful and monstrous bald ambal who compares himself to the king and most of all values ​​his power over the world.

The previous film of Lopushansky (Role, 2013), like those that came before him, was evidence of the apocalypse, albeit expressed in b / w. “Through black glass” returns the director’s favorite orange-red hues, which escalated the atmosphere in “Despicable Swans” (2006). As soon as Nastya enters Ostrovy’s personal estate, the viewer has no doubt — the girl has come to the very heart of darkness, because the luxurious mansion is immersed in twilight, while the sunset sky around it glows in hellish terms.

Moreover, this underworld is no longer a universal visual image, as it was in the debut “Letters of a Dead Man” (1986), but a quite recognizable image of modern Russia. At the post-apocalyptic railway crossing, Sukhanov’s hero walks past squalid tents, from which mugs, T-shirts and other tasteless souvenirs sticking up face Putin.

For some time, the film manages to keep the feeling that it is a conscious kitsch, a convex poster with flashy fonts, an almost political comedy. In addition, the smoothly shaven Sukhanov (there is not even a hint of an eyebrow) is probably given by the best acting performance in his film career: in one second he growls menacingly at his bride, so that his veins swell dangerously on his bald skull, and in another he gives out the rich man’s comic intonations -postachka, to which the hall reacts with an approving chuckle.

Through the black glass

The distinctive features of the film are exceptionally positive — a delightful work with color, expertly built light and powerful acting. It was here that the film debut of the young theater actress Vasilisa Denisova took place, which turns out to create the image of a God-fearing and fragile Nastya without the slightest gram of artificiality.

However, the second half of the film is rapidly changing the whole intonation, reducing Sukhanov’s black humor and Denisova’s reverent naivety to zero, turning the characters into functions. Millionaire Ostrovoy, whose position in life can be expressed with the phrase “lads striving for power”, is throwing a grandiose party in the Kremlin, where Stas Mikhailov’s song about restless Russia is played. Sukhanov’s character ceases to amuse, and begins to frighten; the apocalyptic-political farce turns into a love and spiritual tragedy.

And, unfortunately, his finale is so predictable that you can’t even get horrified. Here it becomes clear that Lopushansky, it seems, is no longer interested in universal universals, but works with a specific historical era (our present) and uses wide strokes, creating straightforward and understandable images.

The crisis of faith, godless people, the world is in a state of half-life, the impossibility of healing and romantic relationships. Together with humor, even black, Through Black Glass loses what distinguishes this film from, say, Zvyagintsev’s latest works. Living intonation turns into a manifest statement or even an anamnesis of the disease of modern Russia — people want to believe in God, but in fact they need a Tsar.

Author: Marat Shabaev

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