fiftyfiftyme: Movie #2, Absurdistan

Ok, apparently we're living in bizarro world, because I just watched my second movie of the challenge, but have yet to finish a single book. 

I visited my sis and we popped in a random comedy we found on Netflix, Absurdistan. I assumed it was the film from the Gary Shteyngart book of the same name (which I haven't read) - turns out I'm wrong. It's a Russian flick and we went into it pretty much blind.

The premise of the movie is simple- young lovers are finally going to have their first night together, but it coincides with the women of the town going on strike against the men (read: no sex) for continuing to neglect the water shortage in the town.  So it's up to our young hero to sort out water for the village and set the gender relations back on track if he wants a night of his own. 'Tis a lot to saddle a young teen with, no?

The movie is beautifully shot- the sets are colorful and engaging, and the story is told with so little dialogue and so much facial expression.  It has the feeling of a (slightly raunchy) folk tale, and is a total escape. 

It picked up awards at a few festivals, and I can see why. While this movie takes place in a world none of us can imagine, the gender wars surpass cultural, economical, or linguistic boundaries to be both identifiable and hilarious.  My sole complaint is that I felt bad for the guy.  To the very end I wasn't entirely convinced why he liked her so much (maybe his miming was better than hers?)  I would have kicked her to the curb. But hey, that's what makes it romantic I guess!

The best thing about it, I researched later, is that it's not entirely absurd.  In fact, the movie is based on a true story!  Veit Helmer, the writer and director, was inspired by "a 2001 newspaper account of women in the Turkish village of Sirt refusing to accommodate their husbands until they fixed a broken pipeline."  

If I rated movies, this would get a B, but mostly only because I'm stingy with A's.

2 for 2, people!

3 comments: said...

I hated the Shteyngart book, I had to question if I could read him again. Thank goodness this was not it.

Bookgirl said...

which of his books? Absurdistan, yes? I have Russian Deb but haven't read it yet- have you?

Milady said...

Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com