Svetlana Baskova  



Russian underground director of trash movies with pretentions of art, using various artistic-sounding but meaningless words, symbols and metaphors to elevate her movies above the John Waters gutter that they reside in. A repetitive technique in her movies is to use men in their most bestial and mindless state to attack and satirize a male-dominated aspect of society as a form of radical feminism. Dialogue seems mostly improvised and simple, and the absurdly over-the-top aggressive men are reduced to bestial caricatures that abuse each other, committing gory violence and several filthy and nasty acts all to make empty and uninsightful statements about society.

Worthless

Cokki The Running Doctor
A manic insane doctor escapes over the hospital wall and spends most of the movie either ranting and weeping in a hospital or running, babbling about his true love Olga or his surgery practice. Men are obsessed with their frantic careers and various preoccupations, discussing their medical procedures or playing with machines in frantic montages, many men are naked, discussing nudity, vomiting and comparing penises while the women are clothed, a man pulls plums from a woman and squashes them as some obscure symbolic act, there are religious rants, a female Jesus giving food to naked men on the last supper table only to have them vomit, hair is seen as the link to God with women puking hair from their mouths in more insane symbolic scenes, and finally, a bizarre scene of a naked man dancing in pantyhose with a clown. Very poorly acted insanity and filth filmed by a psychotic camera with pretentions of existential commentary and feminist statements.

Five Bottles of Vodka
Baskova attacks the abuse inherent in a male hierarchy again, only this time the setting is that other male-dominated world of drinks and bars. A constantly vomiting and ranting manager, an abused employee and the lowly, mentally challenged janitors work in a bar. There's constant drinking, self-abuse with a vodka bottle in a scene that looks real, a virgin bride is bloodily deflowered on a bar table, a weeping customer finds happiness in drink and strip-dancing, the employee strip-dances and covers himself in filth, and is then dressed up in the virgin's dress and molested. Less extreme than Green Elephant with some humor, but this is like a very crude and empty-headed feminist version of John Waters.

Green Elephant  
An underground Russian nasty directed, with the feel of an August Underground home-video but the artsy and social pretensions of Salo. Four macho Russians converse in a disgustingly squalid correctional building and abuse each other, each befitting his rank in the military and his social status. The lowest, filthy peasant and military reject attempts to converse and connect with the higher levels but only gets humiliation and abuse. One man finds his place through humiliation and subservience, but the independent hero fights the system for his dignity with nasty violent results. The abuse escalates to violence, homosexual rape, coprophilia, and gory disemboweling. Intercut with the movie are some black and white scenes, perhaps making comparisons to civilization. The dialogue is endlessly and absurdly aggressive and filthy, like a caricature of testosterone-fueled males as portrayed by a feminist. A shock-oriented repulsive movie that makes points about aggression, the military and social hierarchies, human freedom and male relationships, but the extreme filth was unnecessary.

Head, The
It is difficult to review this one without more help with the dialogue but it seems to be a simple symbolic attack on modern Russia, its orphaned status and relationship with the past. The Soviet Russia of old is an immobile head without a body that appears in various locations, clashing with the morals and sentiments of a modern rich man. This man seeks advise from the head but finds that it is annoyingly unresponsive or unhelpful as it sends him on various missions and tests. At times he uses violence or oral rape to get what he wants until he grows too exasperated. Most of the movie consists of improvised dialogue or rants, and meandering scenes in a weapons shop, a railway, and a meeting where the man performs a bizarre magic performance with chickens, eggs and a cardboard box.

Mozart
Baskova takes yet another shot at male-dominated society, this time the world of music, art and culture in Russia. It's the same old bunch of boring improvised and absurd dialogue that depicts a dead society full of pretentions, lack of inspiration, corruption, cynicism and plagiarism, and the movie seems to be restrained but crude satire this time. But even this world eventually deteriorates into the usual Baskova obsession with violence, gore, homosexual rape, and coprophiliac filth. This kind of trash was uninteresting to begin with, but now it's also repetitive.




2000- by Zev Toledano Table of Contents