Director – Kirill Serebrennikov – 2016 – Russia – Cert. 15 – 118m
An obsession with the Bible drives a Russian secondary school student towards dark designs in a film with both religious and political ramifications – out in cinemas on Friday, March 3rd 2017
Late teenager Venya (Pyotr Skvortsov) needs something to believe in. Both the State and its lackey the Orthodox Church have failed him. He spends much of his time either thumbing through his dog-eared pocket Bible or reading aloud from it to those around him. His lone parent mum (Yuliya Aug) initially thinks it’s a joke but comes to realise that her son’s rebellion is grounded in something she doesn’t really know or understand.
Most of his classmates are more interested in sex and larking about. Venya skips swimming lessons where he objects to the girls’ immodest bikinis. Later in an empty classroom he pushes away Lidia (Aleksandra Revenko) when she removes her top and throws herself at him. He spends time with bullied and disabled fellow student Grigoriy (Aleksandr Gorchilin) whose leg he promises to heal.
For the most part his school’s principal, teachers and even its Orthodox priest (who he dismisses as compromised and Mercedes-driving) can’t handle Venya.… Read the rest