August 5, 2020

Dovlátov: Seven days in purgatory | Culture



In his book Suitcase (Fulgencio Pimentel), Sergei Dovlátov wrote "Once I saw a documentary about Paris. The events took place in occupied France (…). That convinced me that the enslaved countries look the same. All the depleted peoples are identical … ". And there was no lack of reason for this author who only managed to access the publication normally and a postponed recognition in exile, turning the ironic melancholy of his gaze into a universal language in which anyone excluded by the discourses of power would be recognized. Although the statement deserves to be nuanced: yes, perhaps all the depleted peoples are, in the end, identical, but the author knew how to capture with vividness and thoroughness the particularities of what it meant to see life and dreams consumed in a context as concrete as the one of the Soviet Union of Leonidas Brezhnev, while the shadow of Stalin vanished almost at the same speed as the citizens' hopes of change, because the fear was still there.

DOVLÁTOV

Address: Aleksey German, son.

Interpreters: Milan Maric, Danila Koslovsky, Helena Sujecka, AntonShagin.

Gender: biopic. Russia, 2018

Duration: 126 minutes

If in Suitcase, Dovlátov used the eight items that contained his luggage at the time of emigrating to build a mosaic of personal revealers in tragicomic key, Aleksey German son opts for a less minimalist strategy to capture the soul of the author: his film, made of intricate planes sequence with simultaneous actions in its interior and without a fixed center of gravity, adopts the forms of a radical immersion in the everyday reality of the Soviet Union of the early seventies, almost a journey in time like the one proposed by the father of the filmmaker in How difficult it is to be a god (2013), adaptation of the novel by Strugatsky brothers who appear in Dovlátov like figures trapped in the bureaucratic labyrinth of the censorship office.

Seven days in a lifetime are enough to travel different tones – from the tragic blow of the young poet's suicide to the sarcasm of that visit to a shoot that turns the national literary memory into a propagandistic spectrum – into an outstanding work that captures an unbreathable and resurrected vital atmosphere the lucidity of the writer.

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