Cargo 200

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Released on:
January 2, 2009 (NY)

Distributors:
Disinformation Company

This film is Also Known As:
"Gruz 200"

Cast:
Agniya Kuznetsova, Aleksei Poluyan, Leonid Gromov, Aleksei Serebryakov, Leonid Bichevin, Natalya Akimova, Yuri Stepanov, Mikhail Skryabin

Director: Alexey Balabanov

Screenwriter: Alexey Balabanov

Genre: Drama, Thriller
About the film:
The title of Russian director Alexey Balabanov's twelfth film is a military term for the coffins transporting dead soldiers back home during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The effects of that decade-long conflict provide a unifying theme for this highly controversial film that recalls the work of Gaspar Noe and Michael Haneke but with a distinctly Russian point-of-view.

CARGO 200 begins in 1984 with the introduction of two brothers: a Soviet Army colonel, and the head of the Faculty of Scientific Communism at Leningrad University. The university professor travels to visit his mother in a remote town. When his car brakes down, he stops at a rural farmhouse occupied by a husband, wife and their Vietnamese farm hand. The professor engages in a philosophical argument about the existence of God with the family patriarch, whose heated criticisms of official atheism are fueled by Utopian dreams and vodka distilled in the family barn.

Meanwhile, a young man and the daughter of a Soviet secretary of a regional party committee meet at a party. The couple decides to take a drive, and their destination is the rural farmhouse. Lurking in the shadows of the farmhouse is Zhurov, a character vaguely based on Russian serial killer Gennady Mikhasevich. Although Mikhasevich was simply a depraved lunatic, Balabanov presents Zhurov as an emblem of both human perversion and the manifest corruption of the Soviet government. Zhurov's appearance signals a series of loathsome events that form the rest of the film's narrative.


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