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A ROOM AND A HALF

Director: ANDREY KHRZHANOVSKY

130 minutes| Russia| 2009| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


Russian art-house cinema springs to life again in this richly textured, wholly involving, decidedly unconventional biographical portrait of late Nobel Laureate poet Joseph Brodsky. Director Andrey Khrzhanovsky is actually a distinguished animator, and interpolates graphical flights of fancy between dramatised vignettes of Brodsky’s childhood and youth as his Jewish parents lose their cherished Leningrad apartment to state ownership. Brodsky’s developing literary talents continue the story, yet the idealism of youth is subsequently crushed by the Soviet system’s view of the poet as ‘social parasite’, condemning him to internal exile and thence expulsion to America, where a bittersweet new career flourished. Brodsky himself was never to return, but the film conjures up a visit to today’s transformed St. Petersburg, following lookalike actor Grigoriy Dityatkovskiy’s reunion with the home and family that irrevocably shaped him as an artist. It’s an intoxicating, truly loving film that will have you eager to encounter more Brodsky on the page as well. (Notes by Trevor Johnston)

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