Feb 042009

Tonight we started watching, Moi drug, Ivan Lapshin (My friend, Ivan Lapshin). We haven’t yet seen enough to learn why so many Russian critics have called it the best film in Russian history, but like I said, we’ve just started.

I’ve also gone back to watch Nikita Mikhalkov’s 2007 film, Twelve, for a 2nd time.


It’s a take-off on Twelve Angry Men. Here is juror #8 (at least he has that number in the play) explaining his “not guilty” vote by saying that the jury members should at least talk about it, first.

But although it starts by extolling the courageous juror, in the end this film is one of the sleaziest, sneakiest pieces of anti-democratic anti-rule-of-law propaganda I’ve ever seen. No wonder Putin said he shed a tear on seeing it.

At least that’s the way I remember it from the first viewing. I’m now watching it a 2nd time to observe more closely just how it was done, because the first time I didn’t realize until the end just how it had twisted. (And that was even though I had already read reviews that gave some idea of what to expect at the end.)

This is one of the few very few times in which Nikita Mikhalkov, the actor, didn’t give an annoying performance. He played it pretty straight. But as a moviemaker, this is as far as I know the worst thing he’s ever done.

No, I don’t mean the production. Mikhalkov is a talented director. It might be better if he weren’t.

I’ll explain more after I’ve seen more of it the 2nd time.