“We don’t need the violinist.”
A Cold War era, Gilliam-esque satire of linguistics and capitalism starring Russian Charles Grodin about two unlucky Soviets who end up teleported onto a barren desert planet and must find their way home.
It’s absurdist in a very low-key, melancholy way, as the protagonists must navigate bizarre language systems, customs, and rustic-futuristic technology to get off the hellhole upon which they have found themselves.
But underneath all this wacky satire is a true sense of sorrow and wistfulness. These are men lost in a world that seems utterly antithetical to their own – one built around a satirical semi-capitalist system – that ends up feeling unfortunately similar to their own. And through that subtle but powerful pain, they end up forming bonds, almost against their very self-serving nature.
In Kin Dza Dza I found a film about the uniting power of experience, and I found it incredibly moving.
It’s also hilarious, with a deadpan vibe I liken to the work of Aki Kaurasmaki.
Well worth seeking out – Mos Film has, as far as I can ascertain – the only English subtitled version made available, and it’s on youtube in two parts (there’s an intermission, and the second half starts with a goddamn glossary of terms). Here’s the link to part 1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47CNxwlt9U
Would make a great double feature with The American Astronaut.