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Time Out says
Transcending its status as a somewhat over-familiar allegorical satire on the shortcomings of bureaucracy, this most enjoyable Russian comedy becomes, through richly detailed observation, a wicked, winning farce about universal human foibles. Detailing a year in the life of a chaotic, literally crumbling publishing house as viewed through the initially hopeful eyes of a young writer, it quickly establishes a vivid tapestry of eccentrics, layabouts, liggers, obsessives, and incompetents, all too preoccupied with their own ludicrously personal concerns ever to get anything done. The realism of the beginning gradually yields to spiralling fantasy, surreal and revealing in the Buñuel style; the strangely formal repetitive narrative only serves to underline the hilarious absurdity of the imaginative script, while the dark, 'meaningful' currents beneath the brightly sparkling surface are clear but never laboured.