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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

THE OUTSKIRTS (1998)

Scabrous, take no prisoners fable (by Petr Lutsik about Russian capitalism) follows six duped ex-collective farmers/landowners on an unpicturesque picaresque to retrieve their hectares with the certificate of land ownership. As they get closer & closer to their goal, they move up in society & their tactics descend from coarse jocular ribbing, to roughing up, and on down through torture, murder, cannibalism & terrorism with a nice dose of arson as chaser. Lutsik shoots this in a dark, contrasty B&W that abstracts & distances us from the action in a Brechtian manner, while honoring the strains of Gogol & Gorki in his low-down cast of comic horrors. Takes a while to gather momentum, but ultimately unique & devastating.

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