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Absurdistan
Absurdistan
Actors: Kristyna Malerova, Maximilian Mauff
Director: Veit Helmer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
UR     2009     1hr 30min

{Official Selection Sundance Film Festival} — Welcome to Absurdistan, a small village in the high desert mountains, just on the outskirts of reality, where magical visions and bizarre events fuse together. — The village is f...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Kristyna Malerova, Maximilian Mauff
Director: Veit Helmer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/18/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Russian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Sweet human comedy
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 08/21/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"***1/2

Reportedly based on a true story (though with quite a bit of legendary embellishment, one assumes, at least in its more fantastical elements), "Absurdistan" takes place in a remote village where the women wage a full-fledged battle-of-the-sexes, agreeing to withhold their conjugal duties until the men in the community repair the pipe that for decades has brought water to the town. The story also features Tamelko (Max Mauff) and Aya (Kristyna Malerova) as two teenagers whose own plans to finally consummate their relationship must now be put on hold.

Homespun in appearance and humanistic in tone, "Absurdistan" (a German film done in Russian) is highly reminiscent of those quirky Czech comedies that enjoyed such popularity here in the States back in the 1960s. The scenes set in the past have been deliberately designed to look like aging home movies - grainy, washed-out, and scratchy - while those set in the present are crisp, clean and bursting with color.

The movie blends small town humor with touches of magic realism and the occasional flight of fancy. There are times, admittedly, when the movie gets a little too silly and cutesy for its own good, but, on the positive side, it never takes itself too seriously or condescends to its characters. The mood is upbeat and the details charming in what amounts to a modern-day (but not TOO modern-day) version of "Lysistrata.""
Somewhere Between Europe and the Orient
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 08/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Absurdistan"

Somewhere Between Europe and the Orient

Amos Lassen

The village of Absurdistan is a village that no one wants because the residents are so obstinate. It is somewhere in the high desert mountains on the border of reality. In Absurdistan magical visions and strange happenings come together. There are only 14 families there and among them are Aya and Temelko who eagerly await their wedding. There is a water shortage and the men are so lazy that they do not want to fix the pipeline. Their wives are fed up with them and take a vow, "No water, no sex". Temelko is the only hope that the men have and it is up to him to find a solution before his wedding and a war between the sexes breaks out and the town is divided into women and "the weaker sex".
This is a comedy that is surreal, romantic and beautiful to watch. We see a world we have not seen before that is funny and full of references to the history of cinema. "Absurdistan" is a delight and a wonderful allegorical fable with a message. All you have to do is sit back, prepare to laugh and have a wonderful time. It is bawdy yet it is tender as a tale of love that brings the new into union with the old.
"
Absurdistan: A Breath of Fresh Air
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 08/09/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Remember 'Lysistrata' written by Aristophanes in 411 BC, a comedy of 'one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace, a strategy however that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for its exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society and for its use of both double entendre and explicit obscenities'? Writer/director Veit Helmer (with co-writers Gordon Mihic and Zaza Buadze) have very successfully updated this tale, bathed it in magical realism and fantasy, placed it somewhere along the Silk Road in the mountains where no one would want to live, and have called it ABSURDISTAN. This is one of those films that very thankfully requires us to surrender the need for realism and substitute the pleasure of laughing and spend a comfortable hour and a half of parody of current sexism and the rich treasures of old movies, bawdy silliness, and the magic of love. For this viewer it works on every level - thanks in part to the imaginative cinematography of Giorgi Beridze and the charm of Shigeru Umebayashi's musical score.

Absurdistan has a problem: the water supply that comes from a complex well system in the mountains outside the town has diminished to a trickle. The men of the town ignore their wives' complaints, preferring instead to gather daily in the local teahouse, leaving the women to not only tend to their homes but also finish the work of the men. A significant diverting part of this community is a young couple who have been in love since childhood, married in a mock ceremony at age 8, matured to teenagers- Aya (Kristyna Malérová) and Temelko (Maximilian Mauf) - but warned by the girl's grandmother (Nino Chkheidze) that they may not consummate their union until the stars are in alignment in four years! Temelko has spent his youth inventing things, not exactly in the mold of the other men of the village. He and Aya believe that their sexual union will give Aya the ability to fly, and Temelko intends to keep that concept viable.

The young men of Absurdistan, Temelko among them, are bused off to some city where they are to learn how to fix the water shortage. While they are gone the women, much due to Aya's leadership decide that in order to force the lazy men to work on the problem, they will withhold conjugal obligations: no water, no sex. The bus returns -empty - and only Temelko comes back to the village because of Aya. The silly men decide to avoid being dominated by the women's rule and try multiple ways to find satisfaction, first by attempting to leave town to go gallivanting into the city (aborted by the wives), then to invite a carnival shooting gallery into the town - the prize being a night with the shooting gallery owner's (Ivane Ivantbelidze) daughter (Ani Amiridze). Naturally the one who can successfully hit the target is Temelko, and while Aya believes Temelko will sacrifice his conjugal initiation, he instead devises inventions that entertain Aya and eventually he is able to solve the water problem. And as promised, with the entire village celebrating restored physical bliss, Temelko sets off a fantastical machine that allows Aya to fly - and return, thrilled, back to his arms.

Though this film is directed by the fine German director Veit Helmer, the feeling is entirely that of Russian folklore. The actors selected for the villagers have the most interesting faces and bodies imaginable and the exuberance of their acting is infectious. The reference to the history of the town (often tying in to old movies) is photographed like scratchy old film, and the active story itself is in rapturously beautiful color. The film's story is basically voice over (in Russian), except for Aya's protestations. This is a fable, a fairytale, and a pure escapist delight of a film. It would be difficult not to fall under its spell. Grady Harp, August 10"