THE WEDDING directed by Pavel Lounguine, written by Lounguine and Aleksandr Galin, produced by Catherine Dussart and Vladimir Simonov, with Marat Basharov, Maria Mironova and Andrei Panin. 109 minutes. A Mosfilm production. An Alliance-Atlantis release. For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 96. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
pavel lounguine's the weddingis the ideal movie for people who watched the long, drunken wedding receptions in The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate and felt they just weren't long enough.In a small mining town near Moscow, a local beauty (Maria Mironova) returns from the capital and proposes to her high school sweetheart, a passive, somewhat befuddled mineworker.
He agrees. Bring on the accordion music and the vodka.
Lounguine was into the raw, handheld look before Dogme 95 was a gleam in Lars von Trier's mind, the style of his films, from Taxi Blues and Luna Park to this one, a Cassavetes-inspired reaction to the stiff style of official Soviet productions.
Here, the camera is just another character in the reeling crowd scenes at the wedding.
This unblinking and raw film deals tangentially with half a dozen issues in post-Soviet Russia, including gangster capitalism and police corruption. In NOW's festival preview, Joumane Chahine called The Wedding a lucid and amusing but in the end exhausting and deafening comedy that perpetuates the cliche of Russia as an inebriated zoo. I agree.
The Wedding won a special jury prize at Cannes this year for its acting ensemble.
They do evoke a Russian village in the full bloom of degenerative alcoholism.
Speaking as one of the world's cheapest drunks, I could only wonder as the filmed celebration wore on into the night, "Why don't these people pass out?"