WE ARE FROM THE FUTURE Review

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor

[When we first linked to the trailer for new Russian time hopping action film We Are From The Future back in January I commented on how I always find it interesting to watch an emerging film culture - and make no mistake, despite Russia's long cinematic history and entirely new film culture is emerging there now - find it's footing and settle into the balance of commerce and art that will, hopefully, sustain it into the future. My feeling at the time was that this film in particular would end up being a fairly disposable piece of pop fluff but it looked like very well made pop fluff and fluff run through a distinctly Russian filter as opposed to simply recycling tired American plot lines. And so it was a pleasant surprise when I spotted the film riding the top of Russia's box office charts and now here's our regular Russian contributor Andrey with his thoughts on the film.]

The topic of the time traveling has been overused so much that nowadays hardly any director would risk applying it again since so many movies that were dealing with time traveling either had a complete fiasco or were a product of mediocrity and boredom. Bad examples are too many to list; good ones are just as few as two that come to my mind: "Terminator" and "Back to the Future". Other than that, movie producing companies were trying to stay away from this subject.

Who could expect that a new flick about time transportation would come from the land of reviving movie industry – Russia, with straight to the face name that says it all...almost all: "We are from the future".

When I first saw the poster with four young Russian guys depicted on it all looking cool and dynamic I imagined it would be some teen comedy a-la "American Pie", Russian "Back to the Past" cheap version. Later when I had a chance to see it I was pleasantly surprised by the whole tonality and atmosphere of the movie. After it had ended, I was sitting still for about ten minutes because it made me thinking, it was the same feeling I had after watching American Beauty or Crash, the feeling of peaceful silence, calmness and sorrow. And here's why...

The story is about four young guys from Saint-Petersburg who make their living by digging out and selling anything that relates to WW2: medals, arms, ammunition, utensils and so on. One day they go for a big hunt, hoping to find a revolver or a machine-gun. As they dig deeper and deeper somewhere away from the cities and society they decide to take a break and cool down swimming in a lake they found in the area. Once they dive and get back to the surface they find themselves in the middle of the battle back in 1942, right next to the frontier close to the German battalions. Confused, scared, and anxious they get found by Russian soldiers and have no choice but to play according to the strict military rules of that time.

They go through constant fights, quarrels, hard personal decisions, love, and friendship to the understanding of simple truths that cannot be found back there in Russia of 2008. Eventually they found their way back to the future....Shortly, that's what the movie is all about, sounds simple, doesn't it? It could be, if only not the message it conveyed so sharply and boldly...

One of four is a skin-head, huge, muscled Russian racist with a swastika on his shoulder, who admires Hitler, and wishes U.S.S.R. had cooperated with Wermacht. That's what he was like before getting into the oven of WW2...

The movie is basically based on comparing the spirit and courage of Russian soldiers during WW2, and racist moods in modern Russian society. It's not stated explicitly, the message is quite subliminal, but it shown so powerfully and non-judgmentally that it gets right to the core of human perceptions.

There is a scene in the movie where the four guys became prisoners and are locked up in a barrack with a tortured, bleeding Soviet soldier who was hardly alive. At some point one of four who's pissed with his friend's racist background, whispers into the ear of the soldier: "Do you know that in the future there will be crowds of Nazis in Moscow? They will be walking tall around the town screaming:" Hi Hitler!" The soldier screams:"It will never happen!" and putting all his energy in the effort starts choking the guy who told him that.

The subject of WW2 is very close to all Russians; almost every family lost someone during those four years. Millions lives had perished, millions of children became orphans. It was all a sacrifice, one huge sacrifice in sake of the victory. They thought that Nazism was conquered forever. In their mind the words Russian and Nazism never had a place to be together. Who knew that new Russia would become such a fertile ground for neo-Nazis proudly showing off their identity right in the center, in the heart of the Mother-Land.

The movie poses many questions; it reaches straight to the core making one think about our general responsibility for the society where we live, and for our personal responsibility to improve this world for better...

Review by Andrey Korzh


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