Strange movie that looks and feels like two stories in one, when Alisa is a young girl and when Alisa is a teenager; but this fairy tale drama becomes hypnotic and you will follow Alisa’s journeys as well as ‘powers’ questioning what is really going on and where all these is going. With very interesting music score and maybe a too digital for my taste visuals film showcases the story of a very unconventional –but likable- girl thanks to great performance as teen Alisa by Mariya Shalayeva.
When Alisa is a young girl story plus film for me are more magical and even at times, poetic; but when main character becomes a late teenager film became realistic and I was absorbed by the sights and sounds of modern Moscow which I admit is about the first time that I see a contemporary film that portraits Moscow so successfully as a great megapolis. Just for the second part of the story the film absolutely is more than worth watching, but the entire film is “good bizarre” as after all film is Anna Melikyan interpretation of a fairy tale that maybe many of you are familiar with, Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid.
What maybe not all of you are familiar with is that Andersen’s fairy tale has three endings; one given by Disney, one originally given by Andersen and one modified by Andersen to accommodate Christian beliefs. This film has the original end that’s not a happy ending at all. Still while watching the first part I couldn’t tell it was Andersen’s fairy tale, is when teen Alisa meets Alexander that I started to recognize the tale but have to admit that the film ending caught me by surprise as narrative was leading viewers to believe different. Is an interesting but very complex film not only because of the story but also because of all the playing with the images.
So if you recall Andersen’s fairy tale (not the Disney version, please) and if you’re in the mood to watch a quite surrealistic interpretation of it, then maybe you should give this movie a try but you have to know that movie is a good example of Russian contemporary art cinema that won the FIPRESCI Award at 2008 Berlinale, the Directing Award at 2008 Sundance fest, the Independent Camera at 2008 Karlovy Vary fest and collected many more honors in the festival circuit. Also was Russia submission to 2009 Academy Awards.
A little more than three years to be able to watch this film but the wait was worth it as film was truly hypnotic for me but I know is not for all audiences you have to like contemporary interpretations of art cinema that border into the bizarre both in story as with images. If you haven’t seen it yet I strongly suggest you don’t skip it but try to find the right moment to watch it.
Watch trailer @MOC