CHETYRE (Ilya Khrjanovsky, 2005)

Futuristic science fiction provides artists with a veiled means for critiquing their nation as it exists, in their eyes, in the present. In cinema, a prime example is Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), adapted from their own novel, The Roadside Picnic, by Arkadi and Boris Strugatsky. There, in a grim future police state[, I have written,] […]

METAMORPHOSIS (Valerij Fokin, 2002)

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from disquieting dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”      Written in German, Czech author Franz Kafka’s satirical 1912 The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung) weighs the sense of isolation and alienation that has overtaken a travelling salesman. Gregor’s “disquieting dreams” reflect his waking life, which, except […]

MONDAY MORNING (Otar Iosseliani, 2002)

Jacques Tati’s comedies, including the beauties Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953) and Playtime (1967), derive much of their delicate though combustible humor from the little bits of mayhem that Monsieur Hulot causes unawares, this obliviousness of his a defense against a capricious and, increasingly, mechanized and dehumanizing universe. (Personally, I find Tati’s Oscar-winning My Uncle (1958)—Mon […]