Russia, 2008, 125mn 
Colour, fiction
Poltory komnaty, ili sentimentalnoe puteshestvie na rodinu
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Полторы комнаты


 A Room and a Half

 Une pièce et demie

Russian subtitle : сентиментальное путешествие на родину
Directed by : Andrey KHRZHANOVSKY (Андрей ХРЖАНОВСКИЙ)
Writing credits : Yuri ARABOV (Юрий АРАБОВ), Andrey KHRZHANOVSKY (Андрей ХРЖАНОВСКИЙ)
Aleksandr BARGMAN (Александр БАРГМАН)
Aleksey DEVOCHENKO (Алексей ДЕВОЧЕНКО) ...Dmitri Shostakovich
Grigori DITYATKOVSKY (Григорий ДИТЯТКОВСКИЙ) ...Brodsky
Sergey DREYDEN (Сергей ДРЕЙДЕН) ...Brodsky's uncle
Alissa FREINDLIKH (Алиса ФРЕЙНДЛИХ) ...Brodsky's mother
Svetlana KRIUCHKOVA (Светлана КРЮЧКОВА) ...Anna Akhmatova
Aleksandr LENKOV (Александр ЛЕНЬКОВ)
Artiom SMOLA (Артем СМОЛА)
Sergey YURSKY (Сергей ЮРСКИЙ) ...Brodsky's father
Cinematography : Vladimir BRYLIAKOV (Владимир БРЫЛЯКОВ)
Production design : Marina AZIZYAN (Марина АЗИЗЯН), Denis SHIBANOV (Денис ШИБАНОВ), Vladimir SVETOZAROV (Владимир СВЕТОЗАРОВ)
Produced by : Andrey KHRZHANOVSKY (Андрей ХРЖАНОВСКИЙ), Artiom VASILYEV (Артем ВАСИЛЬЕВ)
Companies : School-studio 'SHAR'
Film revenue in Russia : 0.089 million dollars
Release Date in Russia : 15/08/2008
format : 35 mm

Awards :
Best actress Alissa FREINDLIKH , Festival ''Cinema and literature'', Gatchina (Russia), 2010
Best actress Alissa FREINDLIKH , Honfleur Russian Film Festival, Honfleur (France), 2010
Best film, East of the West, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic), 2009
First prize Window to Europe Film Festival, Vyborg, Vyborg (Russia), 2009
Best actress Alissa FREINDLIKH , Window to Europe Film Festival, Vyborg, Vyborg (Russia), 2009
First feature film Prize International Human Rights Film Festival, Moscow (Russia), 2009
Best film "NIKA" Prizes, Moscow (Russia), 2009
Best directing "NIKA" Prizes, Moscow (Russia), 2009
Best Screenplay Andrey KHRZHANOVSKY , Yuri ARABOV , "NIKA" Prizes, Moscow (Russia), 2009

Plot synopsis
A unique journey to the earlier life of Nobel Prize winning Russian poet Joseph Brodsky and the USSR, the country of his youth. The film, a perfect blend of different styles - fiction, animation and historical footage - creates an unforgettable atmosphere of St. Petersburg in the 1950s and 1960s.
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“And one day a man realizes that the nest is gone,” muses the poet (Grigoriy Dityatkovskiy, the oldest of three actors playing Brodsky). “The people who gave him life are dead. He realizes that the only real thing in his life was that nest.” In the movie, unlike real life, Brodsky — who died in New York in 1996 at 55 — magically gets to return to that nest in his final days. Sailing triumphantly up the Neva River, he visits the one-and-a-half-room apartment in St. Petersburg that holds his most cherished memories, and inhales his past. If his regretful observation about leaving home encapsulates the theme of the film, directed by the noted Russian animator and documentarian Andrey Khrzhanovsky, it doesn’t capture its vitality. “A Room and a Half” swirls documentary footage, fictional re-enactments and brilliant, witty animated drawings into a phantasmagoric, playful secondhand memoir. With its unabashedly nostalgic glow, the film belongs to what might be called the “rosebud” school (after “Citizen Kane”) of film biographies that locate the essence of a life in childhood memories. Recurrent images in the film are visual representations of the family’s house cat. The youthful Brodsky (Evgeniy Ogandzhanyan) is shown conversing with his father in meows and later subverting the solemnity of a school anthem sung by a chorus by substituting cat cries for words. He later confides to a friend that he wants to be reincarnated as a cat in Venice. Another image is a crow. In the imagined afterlife, he envisages his loving, rough-hewn parents, Sasha (Sergei Yursky) and Masva (Alisa Freindlich), as two crows perched side by side, observing him. Mr. Yursky and Ms. Freindlich give wonderfully robust performances. Some of the animated sequences — of winged horses and flying sleds, of Brodsky as a farm animal on all fours drawing a cart — suggest Chagall. Other, more elegant pictures — of pianos and other musical instruments flying in formation while framed against the heroic architecture of St. Petersburg — are closer to Magritte’s surrealism. All are connected to specific memories in which the mundane transforms into the visionary. With voice-overs excerpted from Brodsky’s poems and essays, “A Room and a Half” is one Russian artist’s attempt to channel the sensibility of another, using every resource available. Transcending the limitations of conventional screen biography, it wants nothing less than to uncover Brodsky’s poetic essence. Despite its moments of pathos and its expressions of homesickness, “A Room and a Half,” is an uplifting comedy. Like Fellini’s screen reminiscences, it is suffused with a hearty appreciation of the world’s absurdity, along with a hungry appreciation of its beauty. Visually, it is an ode to St. Petersburg (its museums, architecture and statuary are lovingly photographed), and to the Neva River, which runs by the city. But as factual biography, “A Room and a Half” is sketchy. The film is more interested in the young Brodsky’s early interest in food and sex (stimulated by sculpture and the human form shown in art books) than in the specifics of his education and employment. There is an amusing scene of the adolescent Brodsky being rebuffed by a series of girls as he makes his first fumbling romantic overtures behind a curtain in his parents’ home. Movies also mattered. “For my generation, free thinking starts with Tarzan,” he says, half-jokingly, and we observe a Russian film audience riveted by a clip of Johnny Weissmuller. Later scenes show Brodsky as a young man (Artem Smola) carousing with his peers as they euphorically debate politics and literature. Even in the Soviet Union in the late 1950s and early ’60s, it seems, hope and excitement pervaded the air, at least for the student class. At the same time, Brodsky was precociously aware of the imminent demise of a certain kind of intellectual seriousness in the world. “Our generation is the last that cared for cultural values,” he says prophetically. “We’re the last generation that knows what civilization is.” “A Room and a Half” recreates a scene from the 1964 Soviet trial in which Brodsky was denounced as a militant anti-Socialist sponger and parasite and was sentenced to work for two years in a rural village. After he moves to America in 1972 (he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and was named United States poet laureate in 1991), the movie thins a bit. There is a sad little account of his parents’ futile efforts to gain permission to visit their son abroad. As much as he misses his homeland and the city in which he grew up, Brodsky is harshly critical of the culture he left behind. “This is the main tragedy of Russian life: the people’s colossal disrespect for each other, along with contempt and lack of compassion,” he declares. And yet, at least in his dreams, he goes back. (

Андрей Хржановский: «Сделать этот фильм было нереально во всех отношениях» [О фильме : Нос, или Заговор не таких], Варвара БАБИЦКАЯ,, 2020
Советский Пушкин и антисоветчик Бродский, Mikhail LEMKHIN,, 2010
Andrei Khrzhanovskii : A Room and a Half (Poltory komnaty, 2008), David MACFADYEN,, 2009
Путешествия в пространстве культуры. Наталья Кривуля о методе Хржановского, Natalya KRIVULYA,, 2009
Festival international du film de Rotterdam 2009. Le 7ème art russe : Un retour au premier plan,, 2009
The great Russian film maker Andrey Khrzhanovsky, who has always been interested in Russian and world cultural history, makes an artistic treatment of the greatest Russian poet, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky and his life in the USSR. Asked once in an interview if he were ever planning to come back to see his fatherland, Joseph Brodsky said that if he did so, it would be anonymously. For Khrzhanovsky and script writer Yuri Arabov, who presumed that Brodsky actually made the trip, this was the inspiration to make Room and a Half, an ironical fairy tale: the poet travels by ship to the country of his youth, taking the audience along as he crosses not only geographical barriers but barriers of time as well. We are transported back to the 50s and 60s in the USSR and the atmosphere of the country's cultural capital, St. Petersburg. Stylistically, the film is a perfect blend of fiction, historical footage and animation, smoothly intertwined with one another in a highly original manner. The basic facts are all connected with the life of Joseph Brodsky and his milieu. It is a fantastic, unique voyage to the country's past and its genius - delicate, intimate, revealing. (LC)
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Selected in the following festivals :
- Strasbourg two weeks of Russian cinema, Strasbourg (France), 2016
- Strasbourg two weeks of Russian cinema, Strasbourg (France), 2012
- Days of Russian cinema in Limoges, Limoges (France), 2012
- Sputnik nad Polska, Warsaw (Poland), 2012
- Sputnik nad Polska, Warsaw (Poland), 2011
- Oporto International Film Festival, Porto (Portugal), 2011
- Festival "Etonnants voyageurs" à Saint Malo, Saint Malo (France), 2010
- Days of Russian cinema in Limoges, Limoges (France), 2010
- Moscow, St-Petersburg : two faces of Russia, Paris (France), 2010
- Soirées du cinéma russe de Bordeaux, Bordeaux (France), 2010
- Honfleur Russian Film Festival, Honfleur (France), 2010
- Festival of Central and Eastern Film , Wiesbaden (Germany), 2010
- The Dublin International Film Festival, Dublin (Ireland), 2010
- Tromso International Film Festival : TIFF, Tromso (Norway), 2010
- Golden Eagle awards, Moscow (Russia), 2010
- Festival ''Cinema and literature'', Gatchina (Russia), 2010
- Göteborg International Film Festival, Göteborg (Sweden), 2010
- Clevelant International Film Festival, Cleveland (USA), 2010
- Russian film symposium. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh (USA), 2010
- Mar del Plata International Film Festival, Mar del Plata (Argentina), 2009
- Yerevan International Film Festival "Golden Apricot", Yerevan (Armenia), 2009
- Vancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver (Canada), 2009
- World Film Festival, Montreal (Canada), 2009
- Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic), 2009
- Russian Film Festival, Riga (Latvia), 2009
- Festival of New Russian Films, Vilnius (Lithuania), 2009
- Rotterdam International Film Festival, Rotterdam (Netherlands), 2009
- Warsaw Film Festival, Warsaw (Poland), 2009
- Annual award of the Guild of Historians of Cinema and Film Critics, Moscow (Russia), 2009
- International Human Rights Film Festival, Moscow (Russia), 2009
- International Film Festival : Pacific Meridians, Vladivostok (Russia), 2009
- "NIKA" Prizes, Moscow (Russia), 2009
- Window to Europe Film Festival, Vyborg, Vyborg (Russia), 2009
- International Film Festival Tarkovski, Ivanovo (Russia), 2009
- Istanbul International Film Festival, Istanbul (Turkey), 2009
- Kyiv International Film Festival 'Molodist', Kiev (Ukraine), 2009
- The Times BFI London Film Festival, London (United Kingdom), 2009
- The New York Film Festival, New York (USA), 2009
- Annual Whitaker St Louis International Film Festival : SLIFF, Saint Louis (USA), 2009