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Khrustalyov, My Car! Blu-ray Review

Car

“Khrustalyov, My Car!” is definitely not for everyone.

Set in the year 1953 during Joseph Stalin’s sickening The Doctor’s Plot campaign, the story revolves around a military Doctor named Yuri who is an adulterer and a drunkard with a large family. Fearing he will be arrested, Yuri flees but is ultimately captured and forced to face horrific treatment. However, there is hope for Yuri as Stalin is on his deathbed. There’s also a key subplot involving a Yuri look-alike/double.

On paper, this 1998 film sounds relatively simple, but it’s anything but. This is the type of film that feels like you need an extensive knowledge of history to comprehend everything happening (specifically Russian history). Moreover, the movie does not have a traditional narrative and is, frankly, chaotic. At one point the line “It’s a circus” is uttered and that’s a perfect description of the meandering film as a whole. It’s a cacophony of sights and sounds with random people popping in and out, people staring into the camera, confusing scenes, characters speaking poetically, and just a string of bizarre imagery like a man carrying a ram. In fact, every frame is overflowing with actions in the foreground and background. Now, imagine having to endure this for 150 minutes (don’t ask me why it’s this long). Now, I fully understand why some folks would be enamored with this artistic film as it is nothing if not unique, but, to me, it was a maddening cinematic experience.

One thing I will say about this film is that director Aleksei German certainly has an eye for visuals. The B&W film is beautifully shot and, as mentioned, every frame is busy and wild. German truly has a very fresh and stylistic directorial style.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The 2K restoration does the visuals justice in hi-def.

Audio Track: Russian Uncompressed 2.0 Stereo. How does it sound? An all-around solid track.

Extras:
* Double-sided poster
* A thick booklet featuring credits, photos, essays by Gianna D’Emilio and Joel Chapron and a few reviews.
* Re-release trailer
* An interview with director Aleksei German and critic/film historian Ron Holloway.
* “German…At Last”- A 51 minute documentary on Aleksei German, but it’s less a documentary and more of an interview and long stretches of behind-the-scenes footage.
* “Diagnosis Murder”- Jonathan Brent talks about the historical backdrop of the film.
* “Between Realism And Nightmare”- A 25 minute video essay on the film and Aleksei German’s filmography by film critic Eugenie Zvonkine.
* A thoughtful commentary by Daniel Bird who was a producer on this home video release.

 

April 20, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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