16 February 2009 | andreygrachev
All the mysteries of death and a grave-digger's philosophy
Alexander Itigilov a Yakut -Russian cameraman and director managed to create a real horror-drama in the heavy times of Perestroika. The action of this title takes place inside a Moscow cemetery, where a group of really weird-looking people make their living. The original book was written by Sergei Kaledin, the author who emigrated to the USA in 70s. He himself used to work as a grave digger near Riga railway-station in Moscow. So, the main character Vorobei (Vladimir Gostyukhin) is a professional grave digger and alcohol addict, who runs away from hospital to dig graves instead of treating his head broken by his brother. He does not listen to doctors, who say that he can no more drink any alcohol, after he has just had an open head surgery. He comes to cemetery and keeps on working, instead of his friends' advice to stay in the hospital. There we see how dark and gloomy that work is. As the world of death turns out to be surrounded by corruption, satanic money-making, cemetery mafia and lots of vodka. Vorobei likes his work too much to love any other way of living. So this new life turn is too useless for him. He feels nervous and can not live like he used to. Some grave-diggers are looters, others are far beyond in vodka. No mystery just savage truth is here with the gore elements and a lot of graveyards picteresque views. Vorobei is honest in his simple and important work and others hate him for being the best. He takes Misha (Aleksei Serebryakov) as a young helper, Vorobei tells and shows him all the mysteries of death and his own grave-digger's philosophy. But some mafia guys are following him trying to get rid of him, as this job brings good money for them and they need no honesty and respect for the dead. They framed the noble but very ill grave digger and provoked him to drink his last glass of vodka. He dies the next day after his 40th year birthday party. There is an opinion, that I came across, that one should not celebrate his 40th year birthday. So this is one of those post-soviet really necro realistic films: serious, intelligent, dramatic, mystic, atmospheric etc... I recommend this rare film to everybody, who loves world metaphysic cinema.