Circumstances that bring Russians and Germans together

And yes, it turns out that even though Russians and Germans stand in the opposite sides of the ring (stereotypically talking) this brings lots of fun to us – observers. And, yes, comedies about Russians and

Germans can be both: funny and insulting, that‘s exactly what can be said about Russian comedy „Groom“.

Actually this film has two main themes that pretty often are used in comedies, because they simply turn out to be funny – it‘s family relations and, obviously, intercultural relations, in this case, Russian – German,but they actually are shown through a stereotype lenses, and that concerns not only Russian – German relations (a German man named Helmut (played by a German-Swiss actor Fillipe Rheihardt) comes to Russia on the 9th of May to propose to his gilfriend and then accidently her ex comes to visit), but also Russian – Caucasian relations. One of those stereotypes would be that a German man is a salvation for a Russian girl from peripher. Now why is that so? Well, because it is though that he is a foreigner, a western person, rich, has lots of perspectives… Blah blah blah. As same as the thought that Russian woman will fight for her man and is able to beat the crap out of anyone who will threat her man in any possible way.

But in this all stereotipical story one thing would actually be very interesting to observe. To see how people from diffrent countries could communicate with each other without knowing each others language, like at all.

What else seems interesting and also kind of weird in a sense, is the fact how people can joke in a cruel manner about things that are actually very painful. For me it was strange that Russians took as a major event of the comedy film the Victory Day and the jokes were built upon this event. Usually they aren‘t eager to joke about this day, and here we have an entire film filled with these kinds of jokes, like annual reconstruction of a Victory Day as some sort of entertainment for rich people taking German person in captivity. This was very surprising for me and, again, strange.

While watching this film I thought to myself: it‘s interesting how some people are studying acting to become actors, even though they have no talent. And some people are so talented and ment to be (comedy)actors, though they‘ve never ever took any acting classes. They just have this talent inside of them. That‘s all.

What really made me laugh was one thing said by the main character played by Sergey Svetlakov. His character said that ex-husbands do not exist, meaning like in the case with KGB agent – there are no ex KGB agents. Once you are a KGB agent, you‘re always a KGB agent. The exact same thing is with husbands – once you‘re a husband, you‘re always a husband, you‘re never an ex.

Oh, and yes, I once again mentioned Sergey Svetlakov. Because, yeah, he‘s a famous comedian in Russia and he plays in lots of current Russian comedies. Plus he can be the best illustration of the example of those talented actors who never ever studied acting. I should also mention a very talented comedy actress Olga Kartunkova. As far as I know she also did not study any acting stuff, but when it comes to comedies she’s wonderful.

Let‘s move on. This comedy also shows a well known, everyday seen action – filming everything with your mobile phone. In some of my posts I wrote that I don‘t get this. I mean, I understant that people want to save some of their moments, but seriously, if you‘re saving EVERY moment when are you actually living those moments? If you constantly filming everything, when are you experiencing it, enjoying it? THAT‘S what I don‘t get.

I also don‘t get this weird understanding of relationship and living in marriage. I mean if you are married (doesn‘t matter if you are a woman or a man) and you want to stay married, but also have some relationship on a side, yet your second half does not share the same view how can you keep her/him right next to you? Let her/him go. It‘s also the same when it comes to the situation when a married man has a lover because, you know,  he‘s a MAN, when a married woman has a lover she‘s a SLUT. Either it‘s OK for both, either for no one.

Another moral story coming from, as someone might called it dumb comedy: if you are rich it does not mean that you can act whatever you like, do whatever you want. No. Remember, that those people to whom you did a lot of bad things at the very end might be the ones, the ONLY ones who could do something that might safe your life for example. So wouldn‘t it be right to treat other people nicely no matter they‘re rich or poor. At the end we‘re all humans.

And what can I say at the very end? Fireworks in da house looks cool, but kids, don‘t try this at home for real  :D. After all everything‘s good what ends well. Don‘t you think?


We want ABBA!

I don‘t know any person who wouldn‘t know the Swedish pop band called ABBA. People might not be familiar with their music (though at least one song they should know), but  they must have heard the name of the band – ABBA. So today I‘m discussing „ABBA: The Movie“. Though it is more of a concert than a film (actually, at this point I don‘t know which is right: a film interrupted with concert, or concert interrupted with the film that introduces us to some facts from the band‘s biography), but it has a descent plotline – a radio journalist (or as it was called in the film disc jockey) had to cover up the biggest music stars of that time, because it meant a lot to make an interview with such a huge stars (well, it is still a big deal today too) and it takes place in Australia (just to show us how huge this band was / is).

Looking back at the band that reached its peak back in 1970s it is crazy to realize all this psychosis over them. I mean it‘s huge, it‘s insane. It‘s fascinating how easily a pop band from Sweden could take over the entire world. What oh what made them SOOO phenomenal? ABBA – four people that made beautiful, melodic music. People who spread actual happiness, joy and excitement with and through their music. Superstars – without any kind of doubt. Sincerity of their songs made them superstars.

Looking at them performing you get this nice and warm feeling. I can‘t explain neither why or how this feeling rises up. There‘s something bright and warm about them. I also feel nostalgic when I hear them sing. Though I don‘t know why, because I was born long after they‘ve split. They had so much to give to the people and they did. Maybe they did it too fast, that‘s why it lasted not that long. Actually, I can‘t even imagine them still going on, performing all together, singing all these energetic songs. I mean, that could have happened, I just don‘t imagine it. Can‘t imagine it.

Today, this film is a great chance to hear, see and enjoy those beautiful songs by ABBA that are loved by millions of people all over the world up to this day. Plus, can‘t go on without mentioning that markerwise ABBA machine functioned extremely well and it still does work successfully. Watching in this film all this merchandising insanity makes me think these guys must have had great people at marketing. Anyway, this film gives us – born so much later than 1970s, 1980s and beyond see how it all was used to be: preparing  for a huge shows back in the day. Those were the great days 🙂

Loved to see the difficulties of a journalist‘s job back in a day. I don‘t say it is an easy job today, but face it, back then it was so much harder, these reel-to-reel tape recorders – my God… No mobile phones, laptops, internet, travelling difficulties – the main character always late to take an interview and he can‘t contact no one to make an appointment and poor guy chases the band for the week. Insane. Not to mention that this job is really intense and dynamic: all these deadlines,idifficult interviews, people… Today it as actually even more intense and dynamic (despite all this technological superiority) due to enormous amount of information that comes and changes so fastly. But eventually the main character wins. Yay!

What to say at the end? I‘ll just end with the words of one of ABBA‘s songs, because they fit here the most: „Thank you, ABBA, for the music, songs you sang and thank you for all the joy you brought to us. Thank you for your music, for giving it to us“.

Collapse of two cultures: might be scary, might be dangerous, might be funny

Have you ever thought  are there really so many differences between cultures, countries? Sure, there are, but sometimes these differences are so magnified due to some sort of all political disagreements. Perhaps, one of the most known example of this situation of USA-USSR relationship, and today it would be USA –Russia relationship. So, it is always interesting how these difficult relationship are shown in movies. Of course, very rarely it is shown objectively, mostly it‘s from someone‘s perspective, but it is a good thing when it is shown with humor (especially, if it‘s done nicely, lightly) though sometime it‘s far from being funny.

Pretty often one side or other uses those well known stereotypes with which politicians try to brainwash us, our minds. But when you think about it, these differences aren‘t that big, stereotypes are way too silly to be true and, in fact, all this bullshit is used only to raise hate, fear and other bad things.

So. Today I‘ll discuss another Russian comedy „Moscow-Russia Express“. I can‘t say this is a brilliant stuff to watch, however, it has some good points. First of all, through the self irony lense we can observe the curiosities of Russian lives, silliness of stereotypes that Americans bring with them about Russia and how these two worlds come together. They even hired an American actor to have a stronger effect and build some sort of a bridge between the two countries.

Michael Madsen one of the American actors to star in Russian film and to encourage the American-Russian relationship :). Kidding. Actually, American actors are invinted to star in Russian films mostly because of marketing purposes, because why not? He‘s famous, known, people like him, plus, everyone will be curious to see him in local film production.

Getting to the point

This film is about a regular guy‘s – Sergey (Sergey Svetlakov) story who is ready for everything to make a good video that could reach lots of views on Youtube. Thats‘s what this guy do, it‘s his occupation – to become famous on Youtube (because anyone with the help of the Internet can become famous for anything). Actually throughout the entire film we can observe lots of Russian Youtube videos that are funny and crazy based on fools and roads theme mainly that make up a very bad combination. Those who like these kind of videos might be quite pleased to see them in the movie. But mainly, this film is about how you can‘t understand Russia by your mind, especially if you‘re a foreigner :). However there are certain things that even a local won‘t be able to understand: like, male mermaids.

All this is true, just like the fact that in this movie we did not escape the Russian patriotism subject as well. All this being proud of being Russian, being proud of living in Russia despite all the bad things happening here. Of course, it is all shown quite sarcastically, exotic in some way, however, this pride stands higher that intentional sarcasm and ability to laugh at yourself. Moreover, this pride of being the representative of a certain country, nationality is visible in every place of the world, in the same USA there‘s plenty of movies, TV shows where we can see and feel the message of how America is great, how great it is to be American, etc. But of course, there are also TV and film production that sends this American pride message in a sarcastic way.

I so enjoyed the conducter character. Such a faboluous woman, so cartoonically played. Actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite did a good job playing this character which is so not typical to her. It was a blast to watch her. And travelling in a overfilled train might be the biggest adventure you‘ll have in your life :). Or it will prevent you from travelling by train forever.

Talking about the soundrack… Well, I‘ll give 10 points for the soundrack. The way all the songs were picked… They amazingly fitted to certain situation in the movie. However, for those who don‘t speak Russian that won‘t work and seem right  and funny, because they won‘t be able to understand those lyrics of the songs.

Stepping aside, I just have to mention the limit of crazyness that people might reach. Or, maybe, I should mention the absence of any kinds of limits if you‘re ready to risk your own health, life just to make a short video, upload it on Youtube so it could reach millions of watches. Seriously? I don‘t understand this. Really, I don‘t. I don‘t understand this need to post these videos or photos of yours all the time. I don‘t understand this need to be followed, liked, etc. on social media. I mean, I prefer living an actual life instead of living it on social media.

Another thing – plane / flight fear a thing we laughed while watching this film. But actually, it is a quite terrible thing especially if you have to fly on a plane. You know, any kind of fear is terrible, it sucks to have fears. It makes our life so much harder. Better not have them.

To the things I did not like:

  1. I understand that drunk people, drunk and agressive people might seem funny in a comedy film, but to portray your entire country like that (even though the rest of the world thinks it‘s exactly how it is) doesn‘t look good somehow. To portay citizens of your country as killers, thieves, etc. (even if there are such people) and laugh at this in some way seems self humiliating. I might be wrong, but when there‘s too much of all this it does not seem neither funny nor pleasant.
  2. And to learn and understand Russian soul does not mean to get drunk and in fight and never give up. Just like it does not mean to understand a German you have to drink beer in huge quantities and eat bratwurst, or drive like mad man, shot in a street to understand an American. No. To understand specific nationality it takes so much more time and effort to put. And to count only on stereotypes isn‘t the best option, though this particular film is entirely based on stereotypes about Russia coming both from American perspective and Russians itself (and those coming from films made in these countries).


A colorful life of Masquerade

Lately, I‘ve been writing so much about films that books were left aside (unfortunately). Well, it‘s time to correct this mistake and discuss books. So, for that reason I‘ve decided to discuss Mikhail Lermontov‘s play „The Masquerade“. It‘s a famous play; it is played in many theatres in different countries. It might not be THE most interesting, beautiful or whatever story to read, but it it is one of those stories that I think is a MUST to be read for a well educated person.

I‘m not going to re-tell the entire story of this play, because I don‘t think there‘s a huge need for this. I‘ll just try to point certain things relating it to story that I think are interesting (well, at least for me). One of them is the importance of social status.

Social status plays significant role in people‘s life no matter how we disagree with it, or how we don‘t care about ir. Nevertheless, it does and it did the same way back in the day, somewhere around XIX century. For the main character of „Masquerade“ status is really important too. Not only because it gives you permision to live in a certain way, but because if gives you freedom to behave in a certain way (and with this I don‘t agree). He lives and behaves the way his status allows him. But is it really so? The fact that someone is rich does not allow him go against rules or laws. The fact that his moral rules differs does not mean they are superior than common moral rules. Yet, law is the same to everybody no matter how you don‘t want to agree with it.

Arbenin (the main character) is also known for killing his wife out of jealousy. Yeah, I realise that the play was written in XIX century and things were different back then, however, whether or not your wife was cheating on you, you have no right (any kind of right) to kill her. Period.

These are the things, emotions, thoughts that occured in my head as I was reading this story. I don‘t know if these were the things that Lermontov wanted to point out. But I pointed them out for myself, that‘s how I interpreted this story. Now, let‘s move on, and discuss some other things.

What I like about this play was its structure. It is really good that it is written mostly in monologues not in dialogues. On the one hand, it is easier to read and follow the story. On the other hand, the characters develop so much better. It‘s like you can actually enter their inner world, something that is on the other side of their appearance. You see them thinking, suffering, you see them making mistakes, but all this is happening while they speak. It‘s like you‘re not standing behind them as they act, but you‘re in their body and are both the observer and the one who acts at the same time. Fascinating.

But why the story with such a nicely sounding title ends up so tragically? I think because of the unwillingness to talk, to check the facts – these simple things sometimes makes lots of troubles. Well, that‘s what happened to Arbenin: his wives‘s bracelet was at her friend and this friend gave it to the man with whom she flirted at the masquearade. And that‘s the reason why Arbenin started to feel jealous. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But in this case, not only these stupid circumstances pushed Arbening to kill his wife, but also other people. Those who knew the truth but remained silent. Those who could say the truth and save poor women‘s live but didn‘t. Those who made things even worse. Sadly but there are oh so many this kind of people out there. And the most scariest thing about it is that these kinds of people are closest to you: friends, relatives, family…

One more thing I‘d like to ask: is there a certain border when love becomes frightening? I think there is. And Arbenin showed exactly that border. When you don‘t trust someone, when you‘re super jealous it can become worst feeling ever. Probably exactly then people decide to get rid off of their second halfs. It‘s at the same time amazing and terrible how such a beautiful feeling like love can be so destructive.

One more interesting detail: I somewhere read that Lermontov‘s „Masquerade“ was based on whether a true story or true details. I don‘t know if it‘s true. But if someone does it would be great if you could share with this information, or some links where we could all read about it.

A (final) fareweel to Millenium series

The time has finally come to end up with Millenium trilogy films. It‘s a bit sad, but the things are the way they are so let‘s move on and finish them in a decent way.

The third part – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nestwas the most exciting to watch. Not only because of all this tension you could feel from the very first seconds of the films, but also because you knew THIS IS IT. The story has come to an end and you‘ll finally get the answers to all of the questions. And this time it is for real. How do we now that? It‘s because Lisbeth‘s story is finally being written and published. Mikael (the super journalist) takes care of it. The truth is finally revealed. The truth and all the secrets, even those whose existence was unknown to us. This part for me, is also the most mystyrious one.

In this part we once again face new characters. But this time these characters are new to Lisbeth and extremely significant for her life, because they are responsible for what her life was turned into. So the story tangles up even more. It‘s crazy. Sure, it have been tangled up even more if „setting people up with something“ would have worked better. Then maybe Mikael would have gotten to jail for having drugs and lots of money at his place.

I loved how Lisbeth was played in this part. She was as weak and vulnerable as never. Or at least she pretended to be so. She was silent. Yet, her non-expresive face told us somuch more than dialogues or monologues could. But at the same time as remaining silent Lisbeth is forced to be open and tell everything about her past (by writing her own autobiography), she has to face her past publicly and personally, her traumatic past. This is quite interesting, this duality of not speaking, but saying everything. I think it‘s the highest level of art to speek while being speechless. I suppose it‘s not as easy as it seems. But hey, Lisbeth wasn‘t the one who had to face her past and its consequences. The exact same thing happened to her father and many others characters. It‘s always oh so fun to watch judgement day scenes.

I must mention that Lisbeth was not the only silent character in this film. Niederman‘s (Lisbeth‘s brother) character remained silent throughout the film too. And it‘s fascinanting, because he didn‘t even had to. Silence said more, his facial expressions said more, his look said so much more that words could ever do.

I loved how it was shown that people chose Lisbeth‘s side (her doctor even tried show her attention). I mean in this case people chose the outlaw of society, the one who usually is left aside without support or help. This time it was quite the opposite. And it was great, because everybody has the right to be protected and defended. This film is also a great example… well, maybe not example, maybe illustration that politicians have very dark secrets. And this can be said about every country and its politicians. Politics, in general, is a quite dark field, a dirty game of a big people. And I also loved Lisbeth‘s entrance in court. That was wild 🙂

However, this film lasted way too long. It was hard to keep yourself alert and watch. Some of the scenes could have lasted way shorter. Although, even in this case there was some missing parts from the book. Like Erika‘s quiting Millenium and hiring at new job plotline is missing, which in the book developed quite nicely.

My attention to details this time also caught something to mention. It was too obvious that the actor who played Lisbeth‘s dad (who was claimed to be old) did not look old and wore a make – up. And as a character whose face was lit up on fire he also looked too good.

The ending of the film was pleasant and disappointing. Pleasant, because things turned out great. Disappointing, because the situation between Lisbeth and Mikael left questionable: is it over between them, or there could happen something. You get the feeling that there might be another part of the film in the future. Maybe. Who knows?