Director: Alexey BALABANOV
87 min. 2010, Colour,
with words, Russian, English subtitled
Screenplay: Alexey Balabanov
Cinematographer: Alexandr Simonov
Mikhail Skriabin, Yuri Matveyev, Alexander Mosin, Aida Tumutova, Anna Korotaeva, Vyacheslav Telnov
The film, set in the mid 1990s outside of St. Petersburg, tells the story of an ethnic Yakut, Major Skryabin, a shell-shocked veteran of the Afghan-Soviet War, who works as a stoker. Living in the incinerator room, the Major shovels coal all day, turning a blind eye to his former military comrade turned mobster, the Sergeant, who arrives to dispose of bodies. A deadly love triangle between the stoker’s daughter, the sergeant’s daughter and the hit man unites all the characters. As the stoker fills his time writing a novel about a Russian criminal sent into exile in Yakutia in the XIX century, a viewer sees that this movie is another allegory of the Russian history.
Alexey Balabanov (1959, Russia) studied at the Institute for Foreign Languages in Gorky and then attended a course in scriptwriting and directing in Moscow. He worked from 1983 to 1987 as assistant director at the Sverdlovsk film studios. Prior to his feature début, Happy Days (1991), he made two documentaries. Brother (1996) was his international breakthrough. The Rotterdam Festival has presented most of his films.
Yegor and Nastya (1989, doc), From the History of Aerostatics in Russia (1990, doc), Schastlivije dny/Happy Days (1991), Zamok/The Castle (1994), Trofim (1995, short), Brat/Brother (1996), Pro ourodov i lioudiei/Of Freaks and Men (1998), Brother 2 (2000), Reka/The River (2002), The War (2002), Zhmurki/Dead Man's Bluff (2005), Mne ne bolno/It Doesn't Hurt (2006), Gruz 200/Cargo 200 (2007), Morfi/Morphia (2008), Kochegar/A Stoker (2010)