KARLOVY differ – the goes there is no saying the it’s usually a good idea no to pigeonhole a movie before you’ve actually viewed it. The cumulative media groupthink normally can’t aid itself from doing so and also have regularly been guilty that falsely misrepresenting a snapshot before they’ve actually checked out the completed work. Simply this past January and also before that screened for a majority of critics, “Swiss army Man” was unfairly branded the “Daniel Radcliffe farting movie” at Sundance, potentially damaging its chances at being gained for theatrical circulation (luckily A24 saw what a good film it to be overall and picked it up). Over there is a peril that “Zoology,” a Russian dramedy that premiered at the 51st Karlovy vary Film Festival this week, could suffer a similar prejudice together it’s currently consistently advert to only as the “middle age woman through a tail movie.” as with “Swiss Army,” that would certainly be a terrible mistake.

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The 2nd feature film for Russian manager Ivan I. Tverdovskiy ~ 2014’s well obtained “Corrections Class,” “Zoology” centers ~ above Natasha (a great Natalya Pavlenkova), one unmarried fifty-something mrs who lives at house with her elderly mom in a seaside Russian city and also spends she days controlling the food supply because that the local zoo. Once we very first meet Natasha she isn’t necessarily the belle the the ball and her “Mean Girls” inspired co-workers childishly mock her together though she isn’t worthy of sit at their lunch table in High School.

Early top top she begins to complain of ache in she lower back and visits her regional doctor who barely reaction to her brand-new appendage, quizzically instructing her to acquire an x-ray before any kind of diagnosis deserve to be made. As she place on her medical gown and also lays on that x-ray device we find she has some kind of tail growing out the the lower section of she back. Handsome Peter (Dmitriy Groshev), the x-ray technician, doesn’t even react come the weird sight.*

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*It’s worth noting there has been some conflict from doubters over when specifically Natasha becomes aware of the tail. She references to her physician that she placed some pains ointment ~ above it earlier to reduce the pain it to be causing and also we don’t think she had it as a boy or teenager, however when she figured out what it really was is unclear. It’s a slight trouble for the film if friend think around it a bit too much.

After the outcomes come back inconclusive to everyone but Natasha and also the audience, she instructed to get yet an additional x-ray. Upon this visit Natasha is shocked to discover Peter’s attention is an ext than just professional. When she tho can’t get the doctors to obtain out indigenous under their governmental paperwork to even deal with her bizarre abnormality, Peter’s romantic overtures begin to do her feeling much better about herself. She gets she hair dyed and styled. Lot to the shock of she mother and her now strangely prudish co-workers she starts wearing sexier outfits. For a fleeting moment, being different may it is in the best thing that’s ever happened come her. Until, sadly, the isn’t.

Natasha’s mom is a constant reminder of the gossip spreading of an evil woman life in the city through a tail. The are afraid mongering is so strong her mother paints upside under red crosses almost everywhere the apartment walls to protect them indigenous this “witch.” Moreover, throughout a date night Peter convinces Natasha come hit the run floor that a regional bar. She gets so brushed up away in the moment and also the music that her tail drops the end from under she skirt. This causes the other patrons to reaction in fear as though they have actually just seen some sort of Frankenstein’s monster expose itself at the club. Peter might be all set (perhaps also ready) because that a potential companion with a tail, yet the rest of culture isn’t.

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Tverdovskiy has actually tried to focus on the idea that he wanted to do a comedy an initial with “Zoology,” but it’s hard to overlook the tumultuous allegory for modern-day Russian life up on the screen. Whether you room gay, one artist, a political progressive, an undiscovered immigrant, or merely someone different, “Zoology” renders the dispute that, for the many part, modern Russians won’t handle it really well.

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Ultimately, this roller coaster the emotions for Natasha leader to a scene that numerous will think about controversial top top a number of different levels. And, frustratingly, what Tverdovskiy is trying come say v the film’s climax becomes unclear and also may muddy his overall message that a conservative society like his homeland demands to revisit its prejudices and also become much more of one accepting culture overall (if the is what that really desires to say). Because, honestly, if someone you knew flourished a tail, would it really be that large of a deal?

Click below for our complete coverage from the Karlovy Vary global Film Festival.

Dmitriy GroshevIvan I. TverdovskiyKarlovy Vary international Film FestivalNatalya PavlenkovaZoology