Russian Film Week II: All Will End Soon (2017)

Screenshot 2017-11-27 at 19.59.08

All Will End Soon is the directorial debut from Aleksei Rybin, who previously worked in the Russian film industry as a screenwriter as well as being the guitarist for the Soviet rock band- Kino. The picture is a dramatic illustration of the pervasive and poisonous nature of modern media and the effect it has on contemporary life.

Mikhail Nosov (Mikhail Sivorin) is a war veteran who has settled in St Petersburg. His haplessly insular existence consists of operating the local factory’s machinery, watching the news on a loop in his rented accommodation and losing all sense of reality in late-night drinking benders. Despite the picture having the structure of an infinite loop of mundanity, Rybin’s impeccable framing proves to be fascinating in showcasing Nosov waking up to the realities of life.

A persistent plot point involves Nosov going to an escort service to see a woman called Diana. (Ksenia Skakun) Their first encounter looks like a colour infused Noir moment as blue and pink refract through a shuttered window and result in a dreamlike encounter in which Diana presents herself as the perfect image of desirability. For the rest of the picture, this image of the character is subverted as their encounters grow more tense and personal.

In many ways, Rybin feels like he is homaging David Lynch with this central relationship, insofar as Diana is initially presented as a heightened figure, with an intriguing sense of mystery, who subsequently becomes an individual with concerns and desires.

Lynch’s sense of protracted absurdism is also evident in Rybin’s film-making. There are many static wide-angle shots that juxtapose the real-time nature of events with amusing elements. One such scene has a drunken Diana fall on the bed and Nosov going back to his computer and putting on a news broadcast in a nonchalant manner.

Sivorin is a compelling presence, particularly in regards to his look that shifts like a Rorschach test from scene to scene. In one moment, he appears like a broken and lost human being and in another scene, he strikes the viewer in how much he comes across as an aged man who carries the regrets of time on his face. Equally as noteworthy is  Ksenia Skakun whose exudes an embittered and fragile portrait of a woman with a tragic inner life.

In the post-screening Q&A, Rybin emphasised that the film is a reflection of the ongoing political situation between Russia and Ukraine. Rather than depict a story that has direct ties to the conflict, Rybin has cleverly used the conflict as a persistent source of background noise that slowly erodes the protagonist. In this regard, Rybin said the film is about propaganda and how it affects the human being.

Stripped of its political context, All Will End Soon is still a powerfully sobering chronically of modern society. It deftly shows how our humdrum and seemingly everyday existence can turn us into self-perceived idealistic crusaders of an ultimately pointless cause. This vicious cycle can close us off from experiencing the majesty of the world and the empathy that can be gained from a human relationship.

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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