Kira Muratova; cinematographer: Gennady Karyuk;
editor: Valentina Oleynik;
music: Ludwig van Beethoven;
Kolenda (Violetta), Renata
Litvinova (Nurse Lila), Alexei
Mikhail Demidov (Kasyanov), Vassily Rybakin
Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Igor Kalyonov;
Image Entertainment-PAL format; 1994-Russia-in Russian,
French, English with English subtitles)
"The unconventional, personal and arty film is not for everyone."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The strange plot-less
post-Soviet film by Ukrainian indie filmmaker Kira
once known as the cinema bad girl in the USSR, now
allowed to do her madcap irritating surrealist thing
of making films by breaking the rules of logic without
interference, is a film that I'm willing to wager will
turn off more Americans than turn on. It won a Nika in
Russia for Best Film. The photography is delicious,
the many references to literature are tantalizing and
the pic bizarrely raises oddball questions about the
love for horses in comparison to the foolish love of
sportsmen for pretty young women. One of its many bold
statements that challenges the conventional wisdom of
the day and defies the viewer to accept it on its own
terms is when it bellows out its theme that "Beauty
always strives for self-destruction."
Passions is set at a
seaside hospital and at a lush horse farm among a
bunch of chatty Fellini-like character onlookers, who
are intensely engaged throughout in a gabfest about
such things as beauty, horses, the circus, centaurs
and love. An often repeated question, one that's never
answered, is raised among the sporting experts about
"Who wins the race, the jockey or the horse?"
The flighty blonde nurse
Lila (Renata Litvinova) attends a wounded jockey
and calls herself "A flower above and below water."
The brunette Violetta
Kolenda) is a
vain circus performer, who can't fully accept being
told over and over by jockeys and trainers that "the
circus horse is inferior to the thoroughbred" and that
"Dogs are prose and horses are poetry."
personal and arty film is not for everyone, as Muratova's
artful way of showing love to the horses and getting
at the intrigues found in horse racing demand that the
viewer bet everything on her opinions winning the
wager. It's likable for the rich racing atmosphere
created and the feeling that all its silly
idiosyncratic touches might actually lead to something
rewarding if pondered in a serious way.
REVIEWED ON 4/21/2012 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ