Fed up with her life in Moscow, nurse Alisa moves to St. Petersburg. Her roommates in the collective flat are two junkies, Valera and her boyfriend Dead Man. First they fight, but soon the two women form a tender and substantial friendship. Together they even go after the Petersburg underworld when Dead Man is abducted because he can’t pay his debts. Life is hard and confusing and you have to act hard and cool if you want to get by.
<...>The extravagant makeup and elaborate costumes in which some of the protagonists perform, the exquisite exterior shots of Petersburg, and the lavish interiors are reminiscent of a pop opera, or of Brecht reborn as a punk, once again inventing the alienation effect. <...>
Anna Hoffmann www.berlinale.de
This film is about the inevitable death of any person deprived
of spiritual guidelines; a death both spiritual and
physical. For a modern person, sometimes a powerful shock
is needed, a severe dramatic blow, in order to awaken that
person’s true, positive nature.
All the characters in the film lose everything they have.
They lose one another through death, betrayal, deceit. All
these mechanisms work on the central character, who experiences
a complete catastrophe. Trying to find something
major, something big in her life and genuinely wanting
to find her other half, her beloved, she ruins the lives of
those who find themselves in the cage of her passion – the
passion to possess, and not to love.
The present is a terrible time; a time when there are
thousands of ways of retreating from reality. Drugs are one
of those ways, but they’re not the only one. It’s just the
most obviously visible. Another form of retreat that you
might not even suspect the existence of is “blindness,”
when a person runs from his or her conscience, at first not
wanting to see what is really happening, and then being
unable to do so. Thus, that person, of his or her own free
will, steps into emptiness.
Blind conviction with regard to the rightness of one’s
actions – actions that are destructive, amoral, defiling
– rules over those who hold such a conviction like a powerful
destructive weapon. It is a weapon that unleashes
its destructive force on the territory of others who are
vulnerable, lonely and close at hand.
Our characters look genuinely extravagant. It’s the result
of spiritual emptiness. The greater the vacuum within
someone, the more that person tries to hide his or her
external wrapping. That is why the characters possess such
an abundance of details on their bodies: clothes, accessories,
jewels, piercings, tattoos.
This is a film about what happens to lonely people who
dive into the ocean of passion. And then the breakup begins,
which is what nirvana means when translated. Igor Voloshin Source : www.berlinale.de