A Room and a Half (12A)

Film

Drama

ROOM_AND_A_HALF02.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue May 4 2010

This richly textured, wholly involving, unconventional biographical portrait illustrates the central irony in the life of poet and essayist Joseph Brodsky, who spent his youth bridling against the Soviet system, but when finally expelled to pursue a successful career in the US, was then consumed by nostalgia for the old country. Having won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Brodsky died in 1996 an American citizen without ever returning home – so Khrzhanovskiy’s film takes that sentimental journey for him, as we follow lookalike actor Grigoriy Diyatkovskiy’s encounter with the  Leningrad of the Soviet era (almost unrecognisable as the St Petersburg of today) that shaped Brodsky as writer and Russian. Even those new to his work will surely be drawn in by the storytelling generosity on view.

One moment it’s affectionately earthy Fellini-esque reminiscence, the next it’s phantasmagorical animation echoing Chagall and Gilliam, while throughout the sense of place is palpable, glimpses of the now decaying Brodsky family picturing the still sadness of empty rooms with the elegiac frisson of a Tarkovsky.

The Russian director Andrey Khrzhanovskiy is actually an award-winning animator, which explains the graphical flights of fancy as, say, musical instruments float skywards over old Leningrad. True, his film’s hustle and bustle sometimes feels like too much to take in at once,
yet its heavy payload of literary quotations, philosophical argument and classical music is also perhaps an act of faith in an intelligent audience. If you want the facts, try Wikipedia, but this swirl of memory and imagination captures the essential poetry and struggles of a great artist torn between home and freedom.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri May 7, 2010

Duration:

130 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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LiveReviews|6
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Technoguy

Amazing heart-felt tribute to a great poet.Beautiful film of great acting and marvellous animation and artistry. From the Russian blanket of heavy bureacracy gleams of civilization and culture upheld by Brodsky's genius, individuality and freedom.Archive film mixed in with humorous reconstruction,with a soundscore of Bach and Haydn.Conveying so well the plangent loss of exile of the Nobel lauraete and the nostalgia of childhood memory in the 'room and a half' of his parent's nest home.Conveying all the raffish,bohemian charm of Brodsky:the cigarettes,the cats,the drawings.This film will be lost to the main distribution networks of cinema.

Technoguy

Amazing heart-felt tribute to a great poet.Beautiful film of great acting and marvellous animation and artistry. From the Russian blanket of heavy bureacracy gleams of civilization and culture upheld by Brodsky's genius, individuality and freedom.Archive film mixed in with humorous reconstruction,with a soundscore of Bach and Haydn.Conveying so well the plangent loss of exile of the Nobel lauraete and the nostalgia of childhood memory in the 'room and a half' of his parent's nest home.Conveying all the raffish,bohemian charm of Brodsky:the cigarettes,the cats,the drawings.This film will be lost to the main distribution networks of cinema.

Alex

Extremely moving, esp. for a Russian living abroad. Also, an amazingly accurate portrayal of life and aspiration in post-war Russia: from Stalin’s society of fear through illusory hopes of freedom in the 60’s to a $$$-crazed present. Powerful acting and animation (if a bit self-indulgent), and actually a few very funny moments. In is not an easy viewing -- especially in a foreign language – but I hope the effort would be very rewarding.

Alex

Extremely moving, esp. for a Russian living abroad. Also, an amazingly accurate portrayal of life and aspiration in post-war Russia: from Stalin’s society of fear through illusory hopes of freedom in the 60’s to a $$$-crazed present. Powerful acting and animation (if a bit self-indulgent), and actually a few very funny moments. In is not an easy viewing -- especially in a foreign language – but I hope the effort would be very rewarding.

Rory

Warm great film worth every minute and if you have elderly parents like me you phone them straight after this great film. X

Rory

Warm great film worth every minute and if you have elderly parents like me you phone them straight after this great film. X