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Petr Levchenko Curator Review


Curator | 2019 Warsaw International Film Festival Review

Curator | 2019 Warsaw International Film Festival Review

Minimizing Style to Maximize Effect: Levchenko Goes Deep in Russian Murder Drama

Petr Levchenko Curator ReviewAccording to the Cambridge English Dictionary the curator is a person who is in charge of a museum or a person who organizes and arranges a showing of art. In Curator, the feature-length debut of Petr Levchenko, the curator is a so-called detective in a story about crime stemming from business issues in a Russian suburban city. After delving into suburban community problems in his previous short films, Levchenko hits the target with a fiction film based on true events. Minimalist in expression, shot in a documentary style and immersed in the dark shadows of a small town society struggling with corruption, it reconstructs the events following the murders of municipal authority figures in Krasnogorsk.

In 2015, Amiran Georgadze, a Georgian businessman shot dead the mayor of the suburban city and another three of his close associates. The circumstances around this create a case that can refer to many elements existing in the world of money and hard business – and a basis of the Curator‘s plot. Alexander (Yuri Tsurillo), a former security agent who knows the local scene well, guides the audience through the film as he is looking for the murderer, here with a changed name to the fictional Dimur Kavsadze. During his hunt, the backstage secrets of the local business methods are revealed.

True events are usually depicted in one of two ways in cinema. A documentary requires exact research work and there is also less space for creative license. Levchenko chose the second possibility, via fiction, where he employs all techniques to the fullest. CCTV recordings, an industrial setting with a focus on basements and housing estates, dark-shadowy framing, minimalist dialogue and music, natural sounds and voice-over are effectively combined to set a realistic atmosphere.

A hot topic for a long period in the Moscow area, gaining insight into the intimate life of his protagonist makes for a more appealing character study and while Levchenko doesn’t seek an absolute truth, he manages to subvert the crime film with the addition of the raw docu texture that further helps contrast the criminal activities performed by powerful men with the realities of innocent world of children. It can be seen especially witnessed with the character of a small grand-daughter of Alexander, appearing on the scene from time to time, showing that thugs are emotional creatures as well, especially around their own families. Also a children’s drama performance relieves the seriousness of the main plot for a while and symbolizes two different worlds – those of adults and children.

Reviewed on October 17th at the 2019 Warsaw International Film Festival – Competition 1-2. 76 Mins. Part of the The Fipresci Warsaw Critics Project.


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