Cinema: Russians pulling their own legs; Review of recent films

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Date: Apr. 18, 1986
Publisher: NI Syndication Limited
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,055 words

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Byline: GEOFF BROWN

Kino - Soviet Cinema Now Metro The Man With Two Brains (15) Scala The Stuff (15) Prince Charles Fright Night (18) Warner West End Creepers (18) Times Centa Baker Street Mixed Blood (18) Cannon Oxford Street

The new Metro cinema, just east of Piccadilly Circus, is currently presenting Kino - Soviet Cinema Now, a highly enterprising two-week season with nine films changing daily. If the season proves anything about the climate of current productions it is that generalizations are dangerous: how can you pigeon-hole a head scratcher like Vadim Abdrashitov's Parade of the Planets (April 22 and 28), in which a group on army manoeuvres lead a charmed fantasy existence, flitting from a town full of female beauties to a deserted island? The most accomplished films, however, tend to follow established conventions. Private Life, by the veteran Yuli Raizman, explores the plight of a retired factory manager with exemplary craftsmanship and human wisdom (April 29); while Eldar Shengelaya's Blue Mountains (April 20 and 27) offers a buoyant comic treatment of familiar Russian ills - bureaucracy, laziness, inefficiency.

Shengelaya hails from a notable family of Georgian film-makers; his father Nikolai made his mark in the late Twenties and Thirties, while his younger brother Georgy directed Pirosmani, a visually luscious account of the 19th-century Georgian painter. Eldar's earlier films have leaned towards whimsical fantasy, but Blue Mountains roots its exaggerations in precise, sardonic observations. The action is set within the labyrinthine rooms, corridors and stairways of a publishing house in an advance state of disrepair. A neophyte author scatters among the staff...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A117886775