Media Screening – (Why Don’t you just Die / Original Title – ПАПА, СДОХНИ)
Russian Resurrection International Film Festival
Horror Comedy (Russia)
Duration: 110 minutes
There’s a certain familiarity to this dark comedy with its signature blood spatters, and scenes that don’t always rely on dialogue. Ambience and impact in scenes mirror a style found in Quentin Tarantino’s work with blocking, set design, fight sequences, tactical framing in a kind of synthesis of theatre and cinema as the majority of the film takes place in an apartment.
If films playing at the Russian Film Festival are anything to go by, writer and director Kirill Sokolov’s debut film the style of storytelling deviates from typical Russian productions and by conventional standards is pretty out there.
It will be more familiar in rhythm for foreign audiences, which in this case would be us than Russian audiences. His production methods of storyboarding and cinematography are virtually unheard of in the Russian film space. As easy to overlook the film for locals, it may possibly be a turning point in Russian film.
Without giving too much away, the principal cast are a dysfunctional family at best. Olga asks her boyfriend Matvey to kill her father, we’re dragged into the odd dynamic between her father and mother, and we’re taken through a rollercoaster of absurdity in a very far fetched yet realistically played plot.
The setup of the story leads us one way while we’re taken on twists and turns as minor characters and backstories are introduced clarifying character motivation. At some points of the film we’re deciding who to root for as the pieces slowly fall into place, demonstrating screenplay potential in being able to achieve some manipulations in consciousness.
Villains aren’t the villains they seem to be, victims aren’t the victims they seem to be. Instinctively, we side with Matvey, who seems to have the least dialogue in the film yet shares the same perspective with us as everything plays out in front of him.
At first glance it seems like all the deception, scheming and divisiveness is all incited by money, and by the end of it, we realise it’s absolutely not.