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THE FOOL

1:003:457:009:25

Through Tuesday, September 29

WRITTEN, DIRECTED, AND EDITED BY YURY BYKOV

Shades of Chekhov. Dima is a Russian plumber in an unnamed town who, during a routine inspection, discovers a giant crack in the façade of a squalid apartment building that warehouses 800 people. Armed with only his integrity and what he considers an ordinary person’s concern for human safety, he alerts his bosses and the municipal authorities – who either don’t believe him or don’t want to because making note of the danger will underscore their previous lack of diligence. Saddled with a brow-beaten father, a cynical shrew of a mother and a fearful wife, Dima presses on for an immediate response to a situation that could turn fatal at any moment.  But will the victim be the residents of the dangerously unstable building – or Dima himself – as he goes up against a corrupt and arrogant power structure? The movie confirms what recent headlines in The New York Times suggest (e.g. “Russian Opposition Activist Is Hospitalized With Mystery Illness”):  that no one with an ounce of decency is safe in Putin’s Russia.

RUSSIA • 2014 • 116 MINS. • IN RUSSIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES • OLIVE FILMS

Reviews

“MUST-SEE CINEMA.  Another thunderous win for Russian cinema… A furiously compelling portrait of a corrupt system and an incredibly compact morality tale.”
– Nikola Grozdanovic, The Playlist / Indiewire

“Critics’ Pick. Brave and extraordinary. The film, Bykov’s third and best, is set in the parody of capitalism that is the new Russia… Bykov is unsparing in his depictions of that system’s victims. (Natalya) Surkova’s performance is a marvel of anguish and realpolitik, and it’s the heart of the film.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

“Devastating. Scathing. THE FOOL is a hard movie to shake.”
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“Kafka meets The Sopranos as Bykov creates a murky yet absurdist world of deep secrets and unmarked graves, where those who don’t play along can be made to disappear. A forceful Russian drama…a wake-up call of sorts – and one whose relevance needn’t be limited to Russia, either.”
– Peter Debruge, Variety

“A distressing moral drama, gripping thriller and scathing sociopolitical portrait of Russia rolled into one.”
– Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

“Yury Bykov continues to emerge as one of Russia’s foremost young filmmakers.  A seething indictment of the Soviet-era policies invading a country filled with citizens still suffering from and fighting against Boris Yeltsin’s kleptocracy…”
– Drew Hunt, Slant

“Astute and highly watchable.  Wonderfully constructed.  A striking and powerful film, blessed with a series of fine performances that reel in the clichés and tell a stark and often brutal story.”
– Mark Adams, Screen Daily