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August 1993


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Max Pyziur <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 28 Aug 1993 14:02:47 -0500
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (148 lines)
This is being posted to the UKRAINE, RUSSIA, and SCREEN-L
lists.  A similar note was posted in the last month and a half.
Because of a suddenly available ridiculously low fare I had a chance
to be in Paris for about a week this past May .  Near the end of
my stay I came across a notice in Le Monde of a
a French-Ukrainian production, film that is, opening at movie
theatres throughout the city.  The name of the movie is Le
Milicien Amoureux, roughly (real rough) The Amorous or Romantic
Policeman directed by Kira Mouratova.  The movie was shot in Odessa
in Russian with French sub-titles.  Needless to say, I was impressed by the
quality of the production to the point that I have dredged up a review
from Le Monde, translated it (as the amateur that I am with French), and
am posting it in the hopes of generating some interest in this flick.
As yet I haven't been able to determine if the film will
be distributed in this country (USA). Since it is an art-house film local
aficionados tell me that Vincent Canby has to give it his benediction
and absolution.  The distributor in France was ACACIAS.
What I'd be interested in:
Has anyone else seen this film?  If so, any thoughts?
How about Kira Mouratova?  Who is she?  I understand she has made
one other film Le Syndrome Asthenique, roughly Asthenic (of asthenia,
meaning weak) Syndrome.  Has anyone seen that? Any thoughts on in?
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Copyright 1993 Le Monde             |Copyright 1993 Le Monde
Le Monde                            |Le Monde
May 28, 1993                        |May 28, 1993
SECTION: Culture                    |SECTION: Culture
LENGTH: 586 words                   |LENGTH: 586 words
HEADLINE: CINEMA Le pandore et      |The story of the gendarme and the orphan
l'orpheline Sous couvert de conte   |told in the guise of a modern fairy tale;
de fees moderne un cri rageur et    |a sarcastic, furious scream. The
sarcastique LE  MILICIEN  AMOUREUX  |Amourous Policeman by Kira Mouratova
de Kira Mouratova                   |
AMOUREUX                            |AMOUREUX
 BODY:     Ouverture en forme de    | BODY: The opening is like a
dragee au poivre : un flic russe    |shot of pepper: a Russian cop
erre la nuit dans un champ de       |strays one night into a field of
choux. Plan d'une beaute absurde, a |cabbage, an expanse of absurd
couper le souffle. Mais il dure,    |beauty, to gasp for breath.  The more
dure, et un bebe pleure de plus en  |he persists, the louder the cry of a baby
plus fort, il faut le trouver, et   |becomes; it becomes necessary
ce grand flandrin de Kiriliouk      |to find it; and this big lanky
(Nikolai Chatokhine) doit avoir du  |fellow Kiriliouk (Nikolai Chatokhine)
bortsch dans les yeux pour ne pas y |must have borscht in his eyes in
parvenir. Il finit par le ramasser, |order to not be able to see it.
l'emmene. Aussitot, Mouratova       |The scene ends by him picking it up and
declenche une hilarante scene de    |taking it away.  At once, Mouratova
rue.                                |cuts to a hilarious street scene.
    Des voisins s'engueulent, et    |    Neighbors argue angrily, and
pour n'importe quoi, tandis que des |for no important reason, while the
chiens s'egosillent en aboiements   |dogs make themselves hoarse through
assourdissants. Les gens repetent   |deafening barking.   People repeat
et repetent encore leurs identiques |over and over there identical
et derisoires recriminations. C'est |derisive recriminations.  It's too
trop, et c'est insupportable. En    |much and it's unbearable. In two
deux sequences, la realisatrice a   |sequences the film-maker has done
fait le necessaire pour qu'on se    |the necessary things to make herself
souvienne qu'elle est probablement  |known as probably the best active
le meilleur metteur en scene en     |director in the former USSR.  The
activite dans l'ex-URSS. La plus    |most savage, also.
teigneuse, aussi.                   |
    Aurait-elle voulu decourager    |  If she had wanted to depress
les mieux disposes de ses           |the hardiest audience, she
spectateurs qu'elle ne s'y serait   |would not have set about
pas prise autrement. Passe ce       |otherwise.  This prelude having
preambule, elle racontera avec a    |passed, she will tell with hardly
peine plus de serenite comment le   |any equanimity how brave Kiriliouk
brave Kiriliouk remet l'enfant      |delivers the found child to the
trouve aux autorites pataugeant     |floundering authorities, who
dans un ocean de paperasses et      |themselves are in an ocean of wretched
d'incompetence lasse. Puis comment  |forms and weary incompetence.  Then
il tombe amoureux du bebe confie a  |how he falls in love with the
une clinique kafkaienne et convainc |baby who is confined to a Kafkaesque
sa compagne que cette gamine doit   |clinic and convinces his mate that
devenir la leur, intrigue pour      |this kid must become theirs,
recuperer le bambin avant d'ester   |plotting how to claim the
en justice. Ce n'est jamais         |child before the court of justice.
prudent. A Odessa moins             |This is never prudent.  In Odessa
qu'ailleurs. La camera de Mouratova |less so besides.  Mouratova's
est partout, dans le documentaire   |camera is everywhere, in the
de la vie quotidienne et dans le    |chronicle of daily life and in
conte de fees, dans le pamphlet et  |fairy tales; in the lampoon and the
dans le burlesque venu du cinema    |burlesque arising from silent
muet. L'ensemble est une sorte de   |cinema.  The ensemble of these
melodrame beckettien,               |things constitutes a type of Becketesque
definitivement inclassable,         |melodrama, definitely
imprevisible.                       |unclassifiable and unpredictable.
    Du naturalisme sensible et      |   Similar to the sensitive and merry
rieur de Breves rencontres au long  |naturalism which Breves meets in the long
poeme desespere du Syndrome         |desperate poem of Syndrome Asthenic
asthenique, Kira Mouratova a        |[her first movie], Kira Mouratova
parcouru et refute, avec un egal    |goes over and refutes, with an deft
bonheur de cineaste et une          |filmaker's skill, using a complete
conscience inalterablement          |range of representational systems
furibonde, toute la gamme des       |Le Milicien Amoureux is tempted
systemes de representation. Le      |to go to the great
Milicien  amoureux tente d'aller    |beyond.  Around this baby
au-dela. Autour de ce bebe          |incurably falls the Eisenstien baby
irremediablement tombe du landau    |carriage, the film explores a
d'Eisenstein, le film explore un no |cinematic no man's land in the
man's land du cinema, dans l'exces  |excess of gestures, words, feelings,
des gestes, des mots, des           |and also lights, colors, and
sentiments, mais aussi des          |durations, in the visual puns,
lumieres, des couleurs et des       |hyperrealism, the deliberate bad
durees, dans les calembours         |taste and the materiality of bodies
visuels, l'hyperrealisme, le        |(gorgeous waking scenes of the
mauvais gout delibere et la         |young couple).  It strives to
materialite des corps (splendides   |create a space which would escape an
scenes de reveil du jeune couple).  |obligatory/pressing logic
Il tente de fabriquer un espace qui |("socialists" or "liberals", cynics
echapperait aux imperieuses         |or mystics) akin to an accomodating
logiques (" socialistes " ou "      |slavic pathos that Kira Mouratova
liberales ", cyniques ou mystiques) |a long time ago indentified
comme au complaisant pathos slave   |and denounced as a fatal dead-end.
que Kira Mouratova a de longue date |
identifies et denonces comme de     |
funestes impasses.                  |
    Un carre de choux nocturne ou   |     A nocturnal cabbage patch
pleure une orpheline, ou un flic    |where an orphan cries, where a
russe peut etre foudroye d'amour ?  |Russian cop is able to be
Pourquoi pas, s'il sert de terrain  |thunderstruck by love?  Why not, if
d'envol a ce film OVNI, propulse    |it serves as a launching pad for
par un detonnant melange de         |this UFO of a film, propelled by a
violence et de tendresse.           |detonating blend of violence and