ND/NF: Space and whole lot of dirt, in Paper Soldier

March 23, 2009


Chulpan Khamatova and Anastya Sheveleva in Paper Soldier

Paper Soldier, a Russian film from director Alexey German Jr., takes a street-level approach – or more specifically a gray, damp, muddy earth-level approach, to the Russian half of the space race, in an attempt to strip this proud moment in Soviet history of all its glory. While it succeeds in this effort, the film falters a bit with the more human side of  story and ends up feeling a little bit like a history lesson.

Forget about any uptempo cosmonaut-training montages or gorgeous outer space vistas. Instead, Paper Soldier is tightly focused on the psyche of Daniel (Merab Ninidze), a physician involved in the space project who grows increasingly uncomfortable risking human life for the sake of science. Daniel’s also got a wife (a fellow doctor played by Chulpan Khamatova) at the training facility in Moscow and a girlfriend at the launch site (Anastasya Shevaleva) in Kazakhstan, and in time these personal and philosophical conflicts take a toll on him.

Read the rest of the review at Film Linc Blog!


Hear Different about New Directors/New Films!

March 23, 2009


New Directors/New Films/New Panda

New Directors/New Films/New Panda

New Directors/New Films is the one of many exciting cinephile things to do in New York City that I have somehow managed to avoid for the nearly 6 years I’ve been living here (NYFF – I’ll get to you eventually). That is, until last week, when I lucked into an opportunity to review a couple of the films at the fest for the Lincoln Center Film Blog.  While I wasn’t crazy about either of the films I saw, it was still exciting to see something well, new, and artistically serious during this season of shitty films.

I’ll excerpt both of the pieces I’ve written here when they officially go online, but until then you should check the FilmLinc Blog for all kinds of reviews from the festival and a bunch of other exciting film-nerd stuff as well.

And in case you were wondering about the adorable pandas, they’re just there because I couldn’t find any interesting pictures of the festival or Lincoln Center or anything, you know, relevant.  I guess I could’ve posted some still from one of the films, but then again, none of those stills feature cute animals, do they?