Muscovite Vadik comprehends mystical St. Petersburg with the assistance of his senior comrade Gosha (Kuzma Saprykin and Gosha Kutsenko). Photo: Frame from the film
Already a quarter of a century has passed since the second coming of Christ named Sailor in gangster Petersburg (“Mother, do not cry”). Sailor Andrey Panin and Khomyachok Igor Yurash, spy Sergei Koltakov and killer Valery Priemykhov, Hitler Ivan Bortnik and Full Papa Anatoly Mambetov departed to another world. Father Ivan Okhlobystin and screenwriter Konstantin Murzenko took the rank of philosophical schema – and only the St. Petersburg passion for bombing runs under the schmal with the participation of Gosha Kutsenko has not gone away and bears fruit like a hemp plantation in Altai (banned in the Russian Federation).
Moreover, in conditions of cultural amnesia, a scattering of quotes from old cinema without reference to the original source acquires a wild charm. St. Petersburg people do not like to explain the joke – which is why they are considered mysterious. Ask them why the film is called “1703” – they will evade the answer; entered – well, did not enter – a Muscovite. But even though I am a Muscovite, I am a cutter (a word from the same “Mother”) and therefore I know: 1703 is the year the city on the Neva was founded. Krivokolenny, 5, is the place of residence of the Black Cat’s contact, where a Moscow guest now lives, sent to St. Petersburg to help (Kuzma Saprykin). And Pasha America – not only drove the chief of the St. Petersburg undertakers, but also the nickname of the hero of the film “Tavern on Pyatnitskaya”, which only reptiles like me and screenwriter Denis Artamonov remember today.
The story of how a hardened St. Petersburg cop and an outside Moscow opera chase demons around St. Petersburg (not in the sense of sour, but in the direct, although they also sour), is full of purely St. Petersburg atmosphere. In Gosha’s car, Tanya Bulanova, a very important girl for the city consciousness, sings non-stop on rewind. The city is full of freaks, psychos, clowns and outcasts, each with his own dignity and degree (some of them, in their deceased form, sing karaoke to the words of Yegor Letov). Gosha’s son’s name is Rodya, and the boss’s name is Porfirin (for those who overslept the school curriculum, this is from Dostoevsky). The chief is Andrey Fedortsov, who once carried corpses to the cemetery in Brother, and then served on the wanted list in Lethal Force. In his office, he has a fireplace, near which he and Gosha confer like Holmes and Watson.
The corpses are not mentioned in vain, because the investigation is unraveling the mysterious theft of bodies from mortuaries, which also looks very St. Petersburg (Gogol, Yukhananov, necrorealism, that and that). Along the way, the Muscovite completely integrates: he starts drinking, chatting with ghosts, and abandons the vixen bride who works in the registry office (a reference to Pokrovsky Gates) for a sympathetic girl from webcam porn (a reference to Crime and Punishment). Vixen with icy eyes is wonderfully played by Sofya Lebedeva, sympathetic – no less wonderful Varvara Feofanova. Evil-purposeful and kind-fallen St. Petersburg girls are also part of the local flavor.
Director Sentsov (not the one who has freedom, but Sentsov of a healthy person) used to specialize in sports comedy, but screenwriter Artamonov knocked him out of the set, which is for the best. On the dialogue: “I’m just worried about Masha.” – “And for the bears?” – “For what bears?” – “And for what Masha?” – Connoisseurs are overwhelmed with sheer delight, and when Gosha unties and around him the Armenian devils-Lilliputians from the labels of vintage cognac begin to dance furiously to the duduk, happiness becomes absolute.
And the only question haunts me: it seems to me alone that Kuzma Saprykin in a shy way looks like Kuzma, and in a proud and impregnable way he looks like a foreign agent Tamara Eidelman?
In the light of the mobile psyche of St. Petersburg and the dancing vintage Armenians, this is very important.
Dir. Sergei Sentsov.