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Welcome to Absurdistan, a small village in the high desert mountains, just on the outskirts of reality, where magical visions and bizarre events fuse together.
The village is facing a water shortage, but the men are too lazy to fix a rickety pipeline and the women are getting fed up with their good-for-nothing husbands. Led by young Aya, the women make a simple vow: "No water, no sex." The men's only hope is Temelko, whose long promised wedding with Aya is put on hold until he finds a solution for the water problem.
Charming and visually inventive! A sweet and silly delight. --San Francisco Bay Guardian
Truly romantic! Easy on the eyes, ears and funny bone! --Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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Reportedly based on a true story (though with quite a bit of legendary embellishment, one assumes, at least in its more fantastical elements), "Absurdistan" takes place in a remote village where the women wage a full-fledged battle-of-the-sexes, agreeing to withhold their conjugal duties until the men in the community repair the pipe that for decades has brought water to the town. The story also features Tamelko (Max Mauff) and Aya (Kristyna Malerova) as two teenagers whose own plans to finally consummate their relationship must now be put on hold.
Homespun in appearance and humanistic in tone, "Absurdistan" (a German film done in Russian) is highly reminiscent of those quirky Czech comedies that enjoyed such popularity here in the States back in the 1960s. The scenes set in the past have been deliberately designed to look like aging home movies - grainy, washed-out, and scratchy - while those set in the present are crisp, clean and bursting with color.
The movie blends small town humor with touches of magic realism and the occasional flight of fancy. There are times, admittedly, when the movie gets a little too silly and cutesy for its own good, but, on the positive side, it never takes itself too seriously or condescends to its characters. The mood is upbeat and the details charming in what amounts to a modern-day (but not TOO modern-day) version of "Lysistrata."
Absurdistan has a problem: the water supply that comes from a complex well system in the mountains outside the town has diminished to a trickle. The men of the town ignore their wives' complaints, preferring instead to gather daily in the local teahouse, leaving the women to not only tend to their homes but also finish the work of the men.Read more ›
His "Tuvalu" and his "Absurdistan" bring you to magical places. At times in these remarkable films--perhaps because they are so unique--there are moments of disbelief. They soon pass because--if you are open to his magic--you will believe in his characters and in their worlds fully and forever.
But the movie has no location. It was filmed in Azerbeidjan, but we don't know where the story is to take place. Smaller parts of the movie were filmed elsewhere, even though the story itself never moves far from the village. Also, director Veit Helmer casted dozens of actors from a dozen or so countries - they all have impressive faces, but they look too heterogenous. So all in all the movie feels homeless.
Then, the story didn't nicely roll off. There is the village plot and the couple's plot, vaguely intertwined. There are some meagre subplots, some of them showing the villagers as utmost dumb and/or horny. All in all the movie feels like a string of episodes, held together by a theme, but not by a plot. The movie's title Absurdistan doesn't help to give you a sense of development and meaning. The whole endeavour is more playful than disciplined.
The dusty, isolated Asian village reminded me of other movies with a similar, almost desert-like setting - especially it brought to mind Nadine Labaki's Where Do We Go Now (2011), staged in Lebanon; and just like Absurdistan, Labaki's movie has a gender confrontation and a troupe of relatively urban show girls coming to the remote village. My other association was Ashutosh Gowariker's Swades, showing a dry Indian village somewhere in the bush, which - like Absurdistan - ends with finally receiving a much-desired water line.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Charming. Remarkable. Beautifully filmed, joyously acted. This is a treasure of love, beauty, fantasy, romance, whimsy, and, as the title suggests, wild absurdity. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gitana
Beautiful story. Outstanding screenplay. A movie that could only be made in Central Asia.Published 9 months ago by Fred Taylor
I watched first 15 minutes of this movie and I had to turn the TV off. The movie is boring and the humor in there is ridiculously dull. Read morePublished on January 4, 2010 by Andrey Semenov