THIS IS WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME: A REVIEW FOR THE RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL

THIS IS WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME is part of the RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL that takes place in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Byron – in that order – starting on July 3rd in Melbourne (this film screens on July 27th at 545pm at the Chauvel and also at the Chauvel on 7th August at 645pm in SYDNEY). It has a phenomenal line up of films and if you want your mind broadened and want to see some great films that are not Hollywood made then suss out this festival. You can get all the information you need from HERE and without further ado please enjoy Salty Kernel, Andrew Brusentsev’s, review of the film.

 

THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME: A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL
THIS IS WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME: A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL

 

“This is What’s Happening To Me” is a movie which is featured in the Russian Resurrection film Festival as it makes its way around Australia. The movie is set in Moscow on New Year’s Eve. The streets are caked with snow and as per usual, due to the extreme temperature, the city is quiet as its residents hunker down in their abodes to bring in the New Year.

It tells the story of Valentin (Victor Shamirov who also directs), a man at the end of his luck it seems. His long time marriage seems to have faded away and he has come into town to spend some time with his brother, Artyom (Gosha Kutsenko). Artyom is a successful man but perhaps because of genetic makeup or outlook is equally as glum as his brother. There is much to be glum about, their father has just finished a battery of tests to determine how severe his brain tumour is, it seems that the results will be nothing but dire. Valentin is determined to go home by train so he can give this news to his mother in person but because of the weather he is stuck in the city with his brother.

 

THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME: A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL
THIS IS WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME: A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL

 

Throw in Artyom’s preparation for a work party which Valentin is constantly interrupting as well as a 13 year old girl Alyona (Aleksandra Petrova) who the unlikely two end up babysitting after her mother is arrested, it seems that the New Year will be a cheerless affair for all.

This movie is definitely not a comedic romp but like most Russian dramas Shamirov allows comedic elements to infuse themselves into the mix, otherwise this would be a sombre affair indeed. Another beautiful element is the use of the Moscow cityscape as another character, beautiful sweeping scenes all to the music of Tariverdiev, who directed an important Soviet landmark called “The Irony of Fate”

The highlight of this film is definitely the characters with solid performances from the two principles. They are grudgingly familiar but also caring with each in strange ways and their gentleness is further on show around Alyona. Petrova does well here as well in the presence of these two veterans. There are genuinely touching scenes especially as the characters “warm” to their situation and begin to understand that they are all in this together essentially.

 

THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME: A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL
THIS IS WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME: A SALTY POPCORN REVIEW FOR THE RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL

 

If you are not into a movie moved mostly through dialogue then this is definitely not for you. The conversations really are the key to the performances and the drama. Conversations ranging from everything from how to smoke, ball preparation to singing. These conversations move along at a gentle pace with the characters seemingly unfazed by what has befallen them. In fact emotion at the beginning seems non-existent and in fact these conversations perhaps cover or mask the turmoil underneath.

I would say if you like character driven / dialogue driven narrative then this movie is for you. The movie’s central message resonates strongly that good intentions, deeds and family can sometimes save everyone from the dire arrows that life sometimes throws at you.

 

3 and a Half Pops