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WINDOW TO PARIS

Russia, 1993 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Yuri Mamin

An intelligent, zany fantasy, as whimsical and light as air, Window to Paris nonetheless falls squarely into a whole new genre of Russian film—the comedy of capitalism.

Like the rest of Russia, Tchiyov is trying to cope with the confusion after the fall of commu­nism. He shares a crowded St Petersburg apart­ment with a lively bunch of con-artists. After a night of drinking, Tchiyov and his friend, Gorokhov, follow a stray cat into a wardrobe, at the back of which there is a window. They climb through onto a fire escape and into the city of Paris! For one it is an opportunity to explore the vibrant culture and famous joie de vivre, for the other a doorway through which to smuggle a Cit­roen. But when their neighbours discover the secret, a frenzied shopping spree ensues as the entire block hurries to accumulate all the West­ern goodies before the mysterious passage is closed to them.

Fantasy spirals into manic biting farce as events spin this wondrous comic therapy-for the stark reality of a Russia in slow decay-along in a heady fashion. Pans is all warmth and light, no one wants to leave, whereas St Petersburg is crumbling and everyone throws their garbage into the streets. Unlike a certain teenage girl from Kansas who found herself in a similar situation not everyone agrees "there's no place like home"

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