Petrov’s Flu is the primary movie made by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov since his launch from a 20-month interval of home arrest (for prices of embezzlement, broadly accepted to have been concocted by the state) and consequently has the no-holds-barred high quality of a filmmaker let free. Taking Alexey Salnikov’s novel The Petrovs In And Across the Flu as a jumping-off level, Serebrennikov takes a skinny plot-thread — a day within the lifetime of an influenza-ridden comedian guide author — and adorns it with flashbacks, dream sequences, alien craft, martial arts, tough intercourse and political satire, all shot by way of a cold-like fug that wouldn’t shift with a dozen Lemsips.
It begins, on New 12 months’s Eve, because it means to go on. Petrov (Semyon Serzin), wanting greater than a bit peaky, will get off a stuffed tram and stumbles into civil unrest, when a police officer shoves a gun in his hand and inducts him into an impromptu firing-squad to kill a gaggle of prisoners. It’s the primary in a variety of narrative turns that defy logic and rationalization. Lower to Petrov’s spouse Petrova (Chulpan Khamatova), a librarian who has passionate intercourse between the guide stacks, then presides over a poetry evening that turns ugly, forcing her to unleash superhuman combating talents to finish the argument.
Petrov’s Flu doesn’t develop like a standard chronological narrative; it spreads like a virus, characters selecting it up and enjoying it ahead.
And so it goes. It seems to be like it’s going to be a narrative about Petrov and Petrova getting their sick son (Vladislav Semiletkov) to a hospital, however then Serebrennikov throws in so many narrative handbrake turns that you simply by no means actually get your footing (because it seems, the couple’s son is taken up by a UFO as a result of… clearly). We get a flashback to the ’70s, less complicated, happier instances, with Petrov accompanying his father (Ivan Ivashkin) to a New 12 months’s Eve celebration to see the Snow Queen (it’s a heat, nostalgic, much-needed softer edge). Later, the movie picks up the story of the actress enjoying the Snow Queen (Yulia Peresild), Serebrennikov including a surrealist dream logic the place characters seem momentarily bare. Aptly sufficient, Petrov’s Flu doesn’t develop like a standard chronological narrative; it spreads like a virus, characters selecting it up and enjoying it ahead.
It’s a baffling, usually irritating method, however the filmmaking is all the time spectacular, DP Vladislav Opelyants’ cinematography flitting from jaundiced, hallucinatory imagery — heightened by a snaking digicam — to a 4:3 home-movie model for Petrov’s childhood to a gorgeous black-and-white for the Snow Queen’s backstory. Serebrennikov places you proper into Yekaterinburg, a twilight world the place everybody seems to be sick, violence can erupt at anytime and all bets are off. Very similar to 2022, then.