The Road Movie

The Road Movie

Saturday, May 6, 2017 - 8:15pm
Trailer(s)
Dmitrii Kalashnikov | 
Belarus/Russia/Serbia/Bosnia-Herzegovina/Croatia |
 2016 | 
67 minutes

The Road Movie is a film one watches in a state somewhere between existential dread and morbid hilarity. Voyeuristic, yes, but there is something even more curious at work here, namely the capricious, occasionally malevolent force that for lack of a better term we call fate. It pops up in meteors streaking across the sky, in car crashes, runaway tanks, forest fires and pop-eyed madmen. Here it is, the nature of the universe — endlessly unpredictable, prone to sudden bursts of freaky weirdness, all helpfully captured by dashboard cameras, present in almost all Russian cars. (For even more Russian extremity, look also to François Jacob’s film A Moon of Nickel and Ice, also playing at DOXA this year.)

Watching Kalashnikov’s montage of sheer cheese to nuts madness, the famed, or infamous Russian fatalism is clearly evident. The bone-dry commentary is often the strangest (and funniest) thing that occurs. A woman watches a paratrooper land on the highway and remarks, “I would like to ask him is it his first try?” In other fragments, when obvious damage has been done to people, you have to stop and ask yourself some questions about morality. As the film forces us, the audience, to confront our most salacious appetites, a kind of sly reversal begins to take place. We like to watch, but in this media-soaked moment, when YouTube videos have replaced more lurid entertainments of old, what does this mean for the human psyche and conscience? Is it an abyss by the dashboard light? -DW