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The Outskirts (1998)

Cast: Yuri Dubrovin, Nikolai Olyalin, Alexei Pushkin, more...
Director: Pyotr Lutsik
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Studio: Facets
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Politics and Social Issues, Russia
Running Time: 95 min.
Languages: Russian
Subtitles: English
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Pyotr Lutsik's first film Okraina is an allegorical piece that contemplates capitalism run wild, as well as the increasing Westernization of contemporary Russian filmmaking. The title is taken from the classic 1933 film by the Soviet filmmaker Boris Barnet, in which the beginning of the farm collectivization era is depicted. In Pyotr Lutsik's version, the hero is an ordinary farmer, Philip Safronov, whose peaceful life is aggressively interrupted when his land is appropriated by a mysterious group to exploit its oil resources. The toughest farmers unite and track down the offenders one by one. The murderous path they leave behind them culminates in the film's apocalyptic finale. The director's style is minimalist, with heavy use of symbols. The humor is very bitter. The use of black and white and orchestral music from 1930's Soviet films gives a nostalgic aura without obstructing the impact of the main theme of the film, which seems to be "regimes come and go, but exploitation of the poor remains." Okraina was screened as part of the International Forum of New Cinema section of the 49th Berlin Film Festival, 1999. ~ Gönül Dönmez-Colin, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Slowly drew me in and then riveted my attention by Synn March 9, 2005 - 4:08 PM PST
0 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Starting out as an unlikely candidate for something to enjoy watching, this drew me in slowly then held me fast to the brazen startling end. A small band of strange and pitiful dirtland farmers leave home and travel to the City to try to void a land certificate in order to reverse ownership of their deceitfully stolen lands back to them. Undeterred along the way by torments of rain, snow, gunshot wounds, head bashings, dungeons, etc. they finally abjectly confront the thieving capitalist who smirks as he parades proof of his global real estate thefts to seize oil veins below each one. Then in the blink of an eye, a surprise tactic to turn the tables, and armageddon.

Caustic Comic Masterpiece by tboot February 1, 2005 - 6:56 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
When you think of film comedy, Russian cinema doesn't exactly top the list, but here's one of the funniest movies I've seen in years, a caustic comic masterpiece of such snow-bound bleakness you'll get frostbite just watching it. The residents of a tiny village, finding that their farmland has been usurped by unseen speculators, form a homely 4-man militia and head out on a go-for-broke voyage of vengeance. More like a Soviet Four Stooges than a Wild Bunch, they cut a swathe across Russia on the back of a hilariously overloaded motorcycle, rusty shotguns in hand, kidnapping, torturing and killing their prey with ridiculously single-minded ferocity. Underplayed with a surreal, slow-burn austerity, it's a gleefully stark parody of Soviet stoicism, old happy-worker propaganda, and the New Capitalism, and ends in an astonishing and deeply satisfying climax. Absolutely sublime. Ignore that awful, dry synopsis from All-Movie Guide and see this.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.00)
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