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VINE VOICEon 28 December 2011
Room and a Half is a recall through the techniques of film of an earlier more classical era when civilization and culture had true value.The director Khrzhanovskiy shares with Brodsky a similar historical period being of similar ages,sharing similar friends and being brought up in the famous `room and a half' apartments,celebrated in this film.However they never met.Khrzhanovoskiy is drawn to him as Brodsky did many drawings which the director shows in one of the extras.He is also drawn to his prose essay "A Room and a Half" from the collection "Less than One".

Like Brodsky he was an only child and deeply devoted to his parents.The film is playful in tone as he suggests Joseph Brodsky,the Nobel Laureate, was in his outspokenness about individualism vs.mass conformity.This film is a fiction and takes poetic liberties with the facts of Brodsky's life.Using a perfect blend of different styles-fiction,animation and historical footage-in an absolute mastery of the different formats to create a magical, creative fantasia which is unified.At odds with post-WWII Stalinism and later Kruschev.He spent 2 years in a Soviet prison in the 60's and was eventually exiled from the country and his parents(forever),living in the U.S. from 1972 until his death in 1996.

Walking out of school forever from age 13 his parent's apartment is a creative wonderland in a context of communal living.We see the boy and then the college student.In a hilarious montage of short scenes young Brodsky brings home various girlfriends in the half room,with the ultimate goal of having sex with them,while the parents,a short distance away try to pretend nothing is happening.Stalin's repression of artists and intellectuals(especially Jews) is shown by the image of musical instruments slowly floating above,and leaving,the city of Leningrad,like a Chagall.The soundtrack contains a lot of Bach and his favorite Haydn.

Brodsky's reminiscences of his father and mother are full of heartful nostalgia as they adjust to contracting circumstances.The poet in exile as a university professor in the U.S.is shown phoning home,the umbilical chord of his new life and success.He never returns,so he is shown,in the after-life,sailing to the country of his childhood,traveling through space as well as time to see them once more.Brodsky's poetry is given a few short readings,but the film doesn't get close to Brodsky's importance to world literature as the great poet of freedom,exile and soul lament.If you like the film,go straight to the work.Forget then the life.The real Brodsky is in the poems.The power and lyricism.I loved the film for reminding us of Brodsky,the jazz,the cigarettes,the cats.
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on 2 January 2012
The film is based on Joseph Brodsky's essays and autobiography. Brodsky was a Nobel Prize winner in 1987, a Russian poet, emigré from of Jewish origin /but not Jewish background/, a native of Leningrad. /In early childhood Brodsky survived the Siege of Leningrad where he and his parents nearly died of starvation./ In 1964, 23-year-old Brodsky was arrested and charged with the crime of "social parasitism", and exiled for 5 years to Arkhangelsk, far North.
He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other writers and supporters. He taught thereafter at universities including those at Yale, Cambridge and Michigan.
The film can give you the atmosphere of the not-Soviet mentality surviving in not many Russian people, only in some marginalized intellectuals. A little nostalgic, with beautiful pictures and music -- it cannot give a real image of Brodsky, so one has to go and read his poems also :-) Or read his wonderful essay on Venice, Watermark.
Petersburg is called the Venice of the North, but what a difference in history!
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on 5 January 2012
It is a film full of poetry, a voyage into Joseph Brodsky's sensibility, and a nice experience when you can watch a film with a touch of Chagall's paintings. Very, very nice film.
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on 15 July 2011
"A Room and a half" Andrey Khrzhanovsky.

During my first vew of Andrey Khrzhanovsky's masterpiece, I was flabergasted by the amount of beauty I received. The film consists in a fantastic trip around the portrait of the Nobel price winning poet Josef Brodsky in a creative way full of life and love, poetry,beauty and spiritual richness, created in a display of variegated images in permanent change, in diferent intimate colours, not following the same scheme at all times. Alternative fragments and images change in bodly structures or forms by new conditions or enviroments and years passing, traveling through space and time.

I think the idea comes from one of my favourite films, Andrey Tarkovsky's "Mirror" whose basic structure is perhaps amplified and enriched here. Both are portraits plus poems from two different Russian artists and the poetry both directors created around two different personalities. This new film is lively,happy as Josef Brodsky's childhood and youth were,slighted tinged with the melancholy of Russian spirit. His system of "visual thinking"(a thought becomes an image) offered the director,Brodsky's friend and admirer,that "feeling of freedom" that characterized both of them specially in this film.

The first vew is to enjoy and relax. One has time to think about it during the next
many times we will see it again. If you also love a painting, a book, a classical musician, if you love art you will just adore this film. Change quickly if you prefere a traditional film, also beautiful but that will never also make you change!
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on 19 August 2016
It is a surprisingly good film - in all senses - historically, cinematographically, aesthetically, factually... I biography of a Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky told in poetic and poignant language without a single wrong note in the story. For anyone loving Russian culture or interested in it - it is a highly recommended viewing. You will be in tears and in stitches, you will have your heard spinning and your feelings in tatters - you will feel closer to Russian character and Russian history than ever before. I also must mention superb casting and acting in this film. Truly - an insight into Russian soul.
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on 22 March 2014
An absorbing film about a poet I'd never heard of but what he was or is is not important in this entrancing piece of nostalgia, Inventive cinematically and with perfectly pitched understated performances. The subtitles don't cover everything that's said and in one 20 second patch (man talks to cat) they disappear altogether, but you could almost watch and understand this film without.
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on 18 September 2010
Definitly one of the best film this year. a unique melancolic travel in the life of brodsky. Between fantasy, poetry and history. A must seen movie
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on 14 January 2015
An unusual and utterly charming film. For those who feel depth is more important in a film than action.
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on 29 January 2016
Disappointing.
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on 8 July 2014
Film is excellent, thnk you.
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