Khrustalyov, My Car!

Khrustalyov, mashinu!

dir. Alexei Guerman

Khrustalyov, My Car!

Khrustalyov, mashinu!

dir. Alexei Guerman

Khrustalyov, My Car!

Khrustalyov, mashinu!

dir. Alexei Guerman

Khrustalyov, My Car!

Khrustalyov, mashinu!

dir. Alexei Guerman

Khrustalyov, My Car!

Khrustalyov, mashinu!

dir. Alexei Guerman

Khrustalyov, My Car!

Khrustalyov, mashinu!

dir. Alexei Guerman

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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In this hallucinatory, absurdist nightmare by Alexei Guerman, a Soviet surgeon falls victim to the madness of the Stalinist regime in the dictator's dying days.
"An exhilarating comic masterpiece and one of the great films of the 1990s" (Tony Pipolo, Artforum). Screened in Toronto only once before, Guerman's fever dream of the 1953 "Doctors' Plot" — Stalin's purge of Jewish doctors for allegedly plotting to poison or misdiagnose Soviet leaders — proved to be the director's most provocative and hotly debated film. You'll understand why from the very first sequences — this is a film maudit to lay waste to all others. By turns hilarious, baffling, and terrifying, Khrustalyov, My Car! centres on the burly, bald head of a hospital, Surgeon General Klenski, who suffers many sexual, physical, and psychic humiliations before finally being summoned to attend to the dying Stalin. ("Make him fart again," the good doctor is instructed.) So excessive is Khrustalyov's hallucinatory account of this dark age — in this snowy archipelago of paranoia, every dark car seems to harbour a state agent intent on arrest and torture, every crowded tenement a spy amongst its nasty, argumentative inhabitants — that it demands immoderate description: "Mad, brilliant . . . a visionary nightmare" (Jonathan Rosenbaum); "Russian cinema's answer to Finnegans Wake" (Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound). Bring a seatbelt!