Directed by Alexeï Guerman Jr., this acid comedy about a Russian protester under house arrest seems to send all his characters back to back in mediocrity. Fair, but not simple to facilitate attachment to them.
Under house arrest at his home in a house in the gray Russian countryside, while awaiting trial, David becomes active and struggles, perhaps against windmills. He vehemently accused the mayor of his city of stealing public money. And then found himself accused of having used a sum given by the state to organize a congress for himself. His wife is also accused: but anyway, she let him down. And his new companion is none other than an entrepreneur who inspired David with the idea of publicly accusing the mayor of theft… while half of the contracts won by his company come from the said town hall.
Screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2021 withinIn some perspective, At residence is a film which takes hold of a committed subject: that of committed personalities having a protest and denouncing behavior, accused of theft of public money and being immobilized at home by legal decision. A situation that particularly struck the Russian film director and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, whose new feature film, Petrov’s Fever, is also shown in Cannes in 2021, competing for the Palme d’Or.
However, the action takes place in Russia, so there cannot be two unilaterally defined camps in this story, that would be far too simple. Stubborn, narrow-minded, and not necessarily sympathetic, David seems quite individualistic after all. In front of him, the lawyer who must take charge of defending him at his trial appears more realistic, pragmatic, but also astonished and helpless in the face of this hysterical and desperate comedy in which she plunges. Because his client also begins to want, in return, to sue the mayor …
The interest of this feature film therefore remains its treatment “à la Russian” of a committed subject, avoiding speeches that are too easy or pathos. Alas, if the acid tone is there, in this dramatic comedy, the rhythm is a little lacking. Like David, the action stalls and drags a bit, and the film can give the impression of delivering all of its content quite quickly. From then on, all that remains is to macerate in the absurd logic of the main character, with him. Since he does not necessarily appear sympathetic, one can end up getting tired of following him in his vain efforts …
At residence is presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, as part of Un Certain Regard.
Find all the films of the Festival in our Cannes 2021 file
Visual: © Metrafilms LLC, Kinoprime Foundation