Cinematryoshka: The film based on Zakhar Prilepin’s novel harkens back to the wild ‘90s

Alexey Uchitel’s movie Vosmerka, also known as Break Loose, based on a novel by one of Russia’s most famous writers from the past decade, Zakhar Prilepin, has finally made its way to Russian audiences.

Alexey Uchitel’s movie Vosmerka, also known as Break Loose, aired for the first time at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2013. But now, the film has finally made its way to Russian audiences.

The film is based on a novel by one of Russia’s most famous writers from the past decade, Zakhar Prilepin. The author gave the film adaptation of his book positive reviews.

Vosmerka is aesthetically in the same spirit as films by Alexey Balabanov, the top film expert on the “wild ‘90s”, making it possible to look back at those troublesome times the country went through from 10 years later. It’s an opportunity to compare the Russia of today with the one from 10-15 years ago and ask the question ‘has much really changed?’

The director thinks that this link to modern Russian history doesn’t scare any foreign viewers. The characters are all familiar to them: the police are everywhere, along with gangsters, and the story of extreme love only adds more heat to the fire. An American company has already offered to buy the rights to remake the film.

Foreign journalists at the film’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival dubbed this picture a blockbuster, something that seems to flatter the director very much. Uchiltel’s last film, The Edge (Krai), also interprets Russian history (from 1946) in Hollywood-style. However, his leaning towards special effects didn’t stop Uchitel from selecting a very “tender” subject for his next film. The story of the Russian ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska is in preparation stages for shooting.

Learn more about the Russian cinema industry from our video-podcast Cinematryoshka.

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