Impressive feature film debut by Yuriy Bykov and not to be confused
with the similar titled 2012 film Zhit (Alive/Living)
the dark drama by Vasily Sigarev or the 2006 "Alive" by Alexandr
Veledinsky. Yuriy Bykov went on with indie festival films
like The Major in 2013 and Durak in 2014 and then the TV series Metod
and even later a Netflix produced TV series
Zhit / Live ! is a very good crime drama with fine actors
and with a beautiful autumn-wintry cinematography. This film may
be so good that it's also released here in western europe on a DVD,
but i'm not sure. In my country, the americanized
Sweden, not much goodwill is spread regarding russian film, and this
even though the film would be great.
Live! is an indie crime drama but not a political film and in Sweden,
if a russian film will be mentioned in media at all, it has
to have some critique of the russian government in it. When writing
this in november 2020 i haven't heard 1 (one) positive
news from Russia in 10 years time, in swedish media. Only bad news repeated
in solemn robotic voices. Goebbels at work.
So, this film i once found on a Thai DVD and it's somewhat strange that
the interest in russian film is bigger in South-east
Asia faraway than in russias neighbour country, Sweden.
And now, below in swedish a completely unneccessary
attack on swedish filmmaking:
Men först ett angrepp på
usel svensk film. Ja, jag är medveten
om att svenskarna antagligen tror att vi är ena riktiga
hejare på att göra film, för inga, INGA kan ju massproducera
Beck, Wallander, Åsa Nisse eller Eurovision schlager-del-
tävlingar som vi svenskar, svenskarna - det stora kulturfolket.
Sverige, Sverige fosterland, med våra ständiga Sell-Outs
till teaterskådisar som ständigt underpresterar grovt i sina
illa skrivna roller, Krister H. eller ständigt denne Persbrandt,
mannen med det enda ansiktsuttrycket som trots sina somnanbula insatser
ändå alltid devot hyllas av den svenska
O-kultur-maffian. Om jag vore diktator och något stolpskott skulle
göra ytterligare en obehövlig svensk polisfilm, så skulle
det finnas en lag på att samtliga inblandade i produktionen först
tvingats att se på Bo Widerbergs Mannen på Taket för
förståelse av hur en riktig film använder sig av skådespelares
förmåga via personregi och ett bra manus (grunden för
filmen "Den vedervärdige mannen från Säffle"
var skriven av våra svenska crime-mästare Sjöwall &
The Story of Zhit (Live !
Mikhail (Vladislav Toldykov) is a man
in his upper middle-ages and he has taken his dog with him for some
hunting out in the countryside. It's a beautiful late autumn day or
the beginning of winter somewhere in Russia,
everything is beautiful and the air is crisp, and the cinematography
from cameraman Ivan Burlakov is exquisite.
Mikhail makes some clumsy efforts to hunt some forest bird but his dog
Laida is not a hunting dog and Mikhail is
not a great shooter, so he decides to call it a day and go home.
But then a man suddenly is running towards him, a man with assailants
shooting at him. He throws himself into
Mikhail's car and shouts that he has to go and they escape, but only
to soon get stuck in the mud and having to
continue their flight on foot. It's a long distance to the city and
the old and unfit Mikhail has to flee along with
the scruffy looking young man, Andrei (Denis Shvedov).
Mikhail is against his will and due to some bad luck
drawn into the proceedings and the armed hunters are sweeping the area.
If this had been a Hollywood movie (or some such wannabee
film industry movie) the relation between the older
man and the younger, obviously some sort of thug himself, would soon
evolve into the well known film cliché
- the Buddy Movie. But, NO, this film won't take that easy route and
you never really know where this film is
taking you. Will there be a Feel Good or a Feel Bad twist to this film,
and at the end we will surely know.
The two actors are very good and this debut feature
is impressively directed and beautifully shot.
It's almost as if you could smell the wet grass of the meadows and the
scene where Andrei wanders past the
ruin of a church and through an area of dilapidated empty houses is
atmospherical and beautiful.
The russian title of this movie means To Live and the film has been
met by fine reviews and also won some
The DVD presented the film in widescreen with a russian audio 5.1 with
english subtitles (at the beginning
of the film there were some echo heard when the 2 actors shouted at