Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Sturdily crafted and nimbly performed, Alexey German Jr.’s account of six pivotal days for Sergei Dovlatov (Milan Marić), a marginalized writer in the 70s-era Soviet Union, is a potent, poetic reminder that rebellion can assume myriad forms. Unwilling to toe the party line and consequently incapable of getting published, Dovlatov bands together with Joseph Brodsky (Artur Beschastny) in a bid to preserve their integrity and expressiveness in the face of oppression.
Marić hits all the right ironic, wry notes as Dovlatov drifts between publishing houses, literary haunts and soul-crushing assignments that leave him investigating mines or interviewing actors dressed as Tolstoy and Pushkin. The semi-fantastical atmosphere is only steeped further by the soundtrack’s beautiful use of jazz, which almost seems to be transmitted from another reality, evoking a freedom that Dovlatov can only fleetingly experience.
"[A] visually enthralling tribute to one artist’s refusal to conform… German has perfected a certain Russian knack for tracking shots that become immersed with the characters before gliding away alongside them, creating a unique graphic rhythm. His pictorial sense is, as ever, a strong suit, playing with filters that lighten scenes to a dreamlike haze of memory before turning warmer and clearer."—Jan Weissberg, Variety
Silver Bear: Artistic Contribution, Berlin 18