Cinematryoshka: Geographer drunk his Golden Globe away

Why was such a successful Russian film like "The Geographer Drank His Globe Away" not presented at any large international film festivals? We spoke to Alexey Ivanov, the author of the book it was based on, about why his hero, Viktor Sluzhkin, is less popular among Western audiences.

Alexander Veledinsky’s film "The Geographer Drank His Globe Away", based on the novel by Alexey Ivanov, came out at a very special time. It coincided with the premiere of the legendary film "Hard To Be God" by Alexey German, based on the eponymous novel by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Alexey Ivanov's early works were indeed also written under the influence of the Strugatskys. The Strugatskys and Ivanov pose the same question in their literary works: Is a well-bred, intelligent, caring person in demand these days?

It is the story of an intellectual loser working as a geography teacher at a school in Perm, trying in vain to teach modern school pupils the truth about life. His wife leaves him for another. He can’t find time to spend with his young daughter. Old friends exploit his patience. He drowns his failures in vodka. For all his drunkenness and misdemeanors, he is a rare example of a good, moral person.

"There’s nothing special about my protagonist — he’s just honest. Nowadays honesty is corrupted by lies. I'm talking about lying not as an ideology, but a specific format and model of lying which we are forced to comply with,"- says Ivanov.

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