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Taxi Blues

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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(Jan 01, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Surrounded by hustlers and black marketers, Shlykov (Piotr Zaitchenko), a hard-working, anti-semitic taxi driver, is pushed over the edge when Lyosha (Piotr Mamonov), a Jewish saxophonist, stiffs him on a fare. Enraged, Shlykov tracks down the freeloading musician and forces him to pay off the debt through physical labor. Despite their prejudices, the two develop a bizarre love-hate relationship and ultimately realize they aren't so different after all.

Set behind the Iron Curtain, this Cannes award-winning film by Pavel Lounguine (The Island, Tycoon: A New Russian,) was hailed by The New York Times as "a haunting travelogue filled with raw, pitiless glimpses of a troubled society."


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Constantin Asponsky, Alexandre Bouianov, Lydia Ejevskaya, Nicolai Ejevsky, Sergei Galkin
  • Directors: Pavel Lounguine
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: January 13, 2009
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001HM2CCO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,416 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Taxi Blues" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I disagree with most reviewers, this movie isn't about politics, Russia, etc at all.

The movie is about the Artist and the Layman, about materialism and spirituality, about creatures who crawl and creatures who fly, about the weak sensitive soul and the strong but dull soul. These two intersect, influence each other and form a paradoxial partnership. The two main characters go through a 180 degree transformation and go back.

I think it's one of the most amazing works of the Russian cinama in the 90's. Petr Mamonov, a true musician, is playing himself and his performance is stellar.
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Format: VHS Tape
Pavel Lounguine's "Taxi Blues" personifies the painful transition of Russia from communism to whatever it is they have ended up having over there in two men who have one of those chance meetings that changes one of them forever. Pyotr Zajchenko as Shchlikov represents the old Russia: he is hard working, rather dour and brutish, and misses communism. While driving his taxi cab one night he meets Liocha (Pyotr Mamonov), symbolizing the new Russia: he is at least irresponsible if not insane, an alcoholic, and a musician obviously influence by the decadent West. Their "friendship" forces Shchlikov to reassess his entire life. Even if you do not read "Taxi Blues" as an allegory, it is a compelling tale of a man forced to face brutal truths. Certainly a depressing film, but the emotions are justified because nobody every promised life would be fair.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
It is too bad this film doesn't get better treatment than on video. It was one of the first films to emerge from post-Soviet Russia, capturing the waning days of the former empire in the strange relationship between a taxi driver and a jazz musician, who becomes an indentured servent to pay off his fare after a long night out on the town. While the film mostly deals with the characters in human terms, you can't help but draw allusions to the collapsing Soviet Union and a forlorn Moscow, which no longer believes in tears. Lyosha is a saxophonist who has seen better days, and now finds himself mostly serving as the amusement for others. Shlykov is a crusty taxi driver, who seems drawn from the pages of Bulgakov. Just as things can't seem to get any worse in this darkly comic relationship, Lyosha finds himself playing a studio session with Hal Singer, an important (if somewhat unknown) American jazz musician. While Lyosha's fortunes turn for the better, as he follows Singer back to America, Shlykov finds himself still driving the same dead-end streets when he sees a sign advertising Lyosha's triumphant return to Moscow. The movie takes a very quixotic turn at this point, but ultimately is a very satisfying film.
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Format: VHS Tape
Yes, I agree that this movie is rather depressing, but still has some merits. Americans would especially dislike its level of Over Realism. As they say in Hollywood, it is like "Leaving Las Vegas" meets "The People vs Larry Flynt," if you can imagine that. In a very strange way it trys to be Patriotic to the old Soviet culture, as it conflicts with Post-Soviet western ideals. At many times the conflicts become rather humourous and insightful. The attempt to portray Americans in this movie totally falls apart with the fake stereotype accents and personalities, but again it adds humour to see how others view us. I think it would be difficult to understand this movie if you have not studied Fine Art or Literature. It follows the Classical Romantic lines of 2 desperate characters, lost in a world of innocence, while everything falls apart around them. Despite the realism, they are not able to see the reality of their own existence, and in turn become frustrated by it.
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Format: DVD
A great nuanced film that submerges you into the world of late USSR. Will be a lot more appreciated by the Russians who actually lived there during that time.
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