Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
The lives of hundreds are at stake in this compulsive Russian suspense drama that does double service as a vehement exposé of a society devoured by crony capitalism. Investigating a burst pipe in a decaying provincial housing project, plumber and student engineer Dima (Artem Bystrov) discovers two massive cracks running the length of the building. Realising that the block is about to collapse, he decides that the mayor must be alerted at once, even if it’s the night of her 50th birthday celebration. The party is in no mood for whistle-blowing plumbers, but faced with Dima’s mounting alarm, the assembled councillors and contractors sober up enough to recognise what scams a fatal collapse might expose.
“The third film of writer-director Yury Bykov, The Fool is also his best. An explosive combination of highly personal moral drama and a wider, scathing portrait of a country in which corruption and greed seem to be the only shared values left, this well-oiled narrative machine is further aided by a clever ticking-clock mechanism that actually ratchets up the tension the longer the characters’ vodka-soaked, blame-game speeches are allowed to go on...
Bykov wrote, directed and edited the film and also composed the music… He has cast Artem Bystrov in the lead, whose Average Joe countenance hides a startling intensity… Nataliya Surkova is fantastic as the orders-barking mayor who realizes that 800 potential deaths would be a disaster – if she’s blamed for it.” — Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter
“Such people are very rare today. We call them romantic, altruistic, idealistic or simply ‘fools’ to stress that they do not act normal in a time when cynicism, fear and indifference have become the norm. Such ‘fools’ still exist in my country, and it gives hope.” — Yury Bykov