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quietearth [Film Festival 11.16.08] movie review comedy drama fantasy

Year: 2007
Release date: Unknown
Director: Anna Melikyan
Writer: Anna Melikyan
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 6 out of 10

The introductor to this film told us writer/director Anna Melikyan's influences were Amelie and the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Little Mermaid, pointing out that the latter was one of the only fairy tales with a sad ending although I'm pretty sure we could flip some Brother's Grimm and disprove that. This was a whimsical tale about a girl, conceived in the water, who had the power to control nature (although she barely used it) which had a fantastic beginning like so much odd film fare, but then lost its way down some non-existent path halfway through which was too bad. I was thinking to myself "this is a solid 8!", it was really that brilliant with it's perfect acting, beautiful and inventive shots, and spots of comedy, but ultimately the second half trounced the first. Minor spoilers ahead.

Our main character, Alisa, has a mother who loves men and was conceived in the water with a "long distance" sailor. Although she never met her father, he plays an imaginary role throughout the film encased in antique diving gear, so her family is limited to her mother and grandmother who makes the briefest of appearances for comic relief purposes only.

The film starts with Alisa when she's about 8, curious, playful and cute. She wants to be a ballerina, but that's not in the cards for her. Instead she ends up in choir. A sailor shows up to rent one of the houses on their beach front (yes I said beach front) property, and of course her mother, well, you know. Alisa bursts in to this little hut in the middle of the night screaming "Traitor!" then proceeds to burn the joint down. Due to some unknown thing, Alisa won't speak from this point on which is quite funny while she's lip syncing in choir. Eventually she gets moved to the "special" school, and seems to spend most of her time on a bench with a boy who has downs syndrome. He likes to count the apples falling from the tree, and at times she helps them along. Fast forward to her late teens.

Eventually something upsets Alisa again, and she uses her powers to cause a hurricane, flattening their beach front home in a beautiful Wizard of Oz-esque scene and leaving them homeless. As the film states, "Where do you go when you don't have anywhere else to go? Moscow!" So they move to Moscow, which she loves but looks like a fish out of water with her pale skin and petite frame. As they setup their new apartment in a sprawling complex of towering blocks, an ad goes up the side of the building blocking their sunlight. Ahh, good comedy.

Unfortunately, shortly thereafter is when the film loses it's way, meandering with green hair and a man who sells moon property. This is quite funny in the beginning, but she repeatedly saves him while he tries to commit drunken suicide. Maybe the whole point of this latter half was Alisa having problems breaking into adulthood but, regardless, I'll stop the spoilers.

I'm giving this a 6 out of 10 because the beginning was so fantastic, but I have mixed feelings on recommending this. I certainly think Melikyan is a very talented director (this is her sophomore film) but I think she might need someone to go over her screenplays before they get to the camera. What else should I say? Hmmm. Alisa was very endearing. The end!

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Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

креатив говно аффтар мудак


(10 years ago) Reply

I give 10/10 for getting the fairy tail/oral tradition into current mythological trends. The script would not take to well to rewrites by others as it is to simple.
Understanding the movie for non Russians is bringing any thoughts or knowledge of Russian art as far as film/animation goes and already having a sence of the transcendent .

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