Monday, January 3, 2011
Ilya Khrjanovsky - Chetyre AKA 4 (2005)
Two men and a woman meet in a Moscow bar and weave extravagant lies about their lives and professions, setting in motion a ruthless, relentless three-lane journey into the dark, secret corners of modern Russia. Beginning with a jarring, dog-endangering prologue, this collaboration between controversial novelist/playwright Vladimir Sorokin and young Russian filmmaker Ilya Khrzhanovsky comes on like a film possessed, constantly morphing into surreal shapes as it careers through its different characters, styles and themes.
Mass conformity, biological cloning and genetic manipulation represent the challenges to individual identity here, pushing humanity into the margins and distorting the world’s recognisable form. The resultant pile-up of nightmares — poetic, grotesque, perplexing — may seem random but Sorokin and Khrznavosky impose order on the disorder with their forceful formal authority; it’s quite clear that something is going on — that something is at stake — even if you don’t have a clue what it is. Impossible to classify or compare to other films, 4 stands alone as a radical, troubling, untamed and urgent vision.
Russian authorities were upset by the film's dismal portrayal of Russian life, and the government censors had demanded that 40 minutes be cut from the film.
Luckily for Khrzhanovsky, «4» won a Tiger Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival earlier this year, and a Best New Director Award at the Seattle International Film Festival. As a result of the film's international prestige, the censors have relented and 4 will is schedule to open - uncut - in Russia in the fall.
«4» cost US$800,000 and was filmed in 73 days — interspersed through 4 years, since funding kept running out.
«With its bizarre structure and arresting, at times grotesque, images, 4 shows the influence of Herzog and Lynch, but its young director has his own disturbing vision. Stating that he wanted to make a film that "slowly twisted the audience's head off," director Ilya Khrzhanovsky establishes a certain level of normalcy in the early scenes of 4. Only then does he subtly begin stripping away reality, layer by layer, until the audience is left not knowing what to believe or what to expect. Working with oft-censored cult novelist Vladimir Sorokin, Khrzhanovsky has crafted a provocative film where the only thing you can be sure of is that nothing is as it seems.»
Peter Martin, Los Angeles Film Festival
«Close to the experience of an actual nightmare as anything seen on screen»
New York Times
«The Russian countryside, serving here as much of the movie’s backdrop, has never looked so haunting, so direful, so un-Russian. ... The movie looks perversely great»
«Chetyre is a nightmare tale set in the industrial wasteland of a modern Russia inhabited by toothless old women, wild dogs and ‘chewies’—dolls made from chewed bread. By the time the series of inexplicable and deranged events that stand in for a plot reach a predictably grotesque denouement (a pig’s head is tossed around, the cackling crones enjoy a feeding frenzy and drunkenly compare withered breasts, and a disturbed young man begins a chewie bonfire) the audience has long ago passed its nausea threshold.»
Awards & Nominations:
Rotterdam International Film Festival, 2005
Golden Cactus (Ilya Khrjanovsky)
Tiger Award (Ilya Khrjanovsky)
Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, 2005
Best Director (Ilya Khrjanovsky)
Seattle International Film Festival, 2005
New Director's Showcase Award (Ilya Khrjanovsky)
Transylvania International Film Festival, 2005
Transylvania Trophy (Ilya Khrjanovsky)
European Film Awards, 2005
Nominated European Discovery of the Year (Ilya Khrjanovsky)
Gijón International Film Festival, 2004
Nominated Grand Prix Asturias Best Feature
Eng subs here