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‘The Road Movie’ (review)

Produced by Voila Chajkouskay
Executive produced by
Christian D. Bruun, Rafael Avigdor

Co-produced by Srdjan Sarenac,
Rustam Khairetdinov

Directed by Dmitrii Kalashnikov

 

Less of a “real” movie and more a collection of related YouTube clips, The Road Movie is nevertheless thoroughly entertaining.

Comprised entirely of footage obtained from dashcams in Russia, The Road Movie makes one thing abundantly clear: Russians sure do like to swear.

Whether genially relating an anecdote or screaming at fellow drivers, your average Russian citizen – based on the evidence gathered here, of course – loves to drop f-bombs and more with abandon.

Most of the footage, unsurprisingly, involves vehicle accidents. Some are amusing, as when a driver veers off course and ends up in a river (“Oh, now we are sailing.”) while others are jaw-dropping, shocking and outright terrifying (as when one motorist and his passenger drive through a roaring forest fire).

The varying reactions to these events run the gamut from rage to incredulity to indifference, but they are all extremely human.  There are times when we are dropped into the middle of a conversation and are treated to oddball non-sequiturs (I think my favorite being, “It’s not even stylish to wear a sombrero in the car!”), others when insane occurrences unfold to utter silence from the vehicles’ occupants.

I loathe the term “trigger warning” but be advised that some of these crashes are truly hair-raising, so if you’ve recently been in a car accident or if you have dystychiphobia (fear of car accidents; yes, I looked it up…), you may want to (sorry) steer clear of The Road Movie.

Still, I don’t want to make it appear that this is just an exploitation film; there are many beautiful moments and images in the film – a meteor crashing to Earth, the distorted images of faces shot through a rain-covered windshield, a bear running in front of a car illuminated by the headlights (this leads to my favorite exchange in the film, which had me giggling the rest of the day).

The film is also quite valuable as a very interesting travelogue. We travel POV-style through the countryside, through cities, various seasons, etc. It’s a great way to get a peek at Russia.

Also, The Road Movie is, wisely, brief in its running time.  At times the film reminded me of the indie classic Slacker, with its mosaic nature and constant shifting of character focus.

Also, like Slacker,, it ends at just the right time.

 

 

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