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HOUSE OF FOOLS

Russia / France, 2001 (MIFF 2003, Red Star – New Russian Cinema)

Director: Andrei Konchalovsky

Based on a true story and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2002 Venice Film Festival, House of Fools is a biting, satirical look at war set in an insane asylum, seen through the eyes of a woman literally madly in love.

A young Chechen woman, Janna, is one of several inmates living in a psychiatric hospital. Insulated from the world, the inmates are oblivious to the war that rages around them. Janna spends her time playing her accordion, soothing the mischievous, and sometimes violent, behaviour of her fellow patients. In her private dream world, Janna finds comfort and safety when her 'fiance', musician Bryan Adams, sings her love songs.

One evening, the train that had nightly delighted the inmates, does not pass. In the morning, when the patients awaken to discover that the medical staff has vanished, the problems of the outside world begin to invade their refuge. As Russian troops near the patients must fend for themselves. The insane, the fragile and the handicapped must now organize themselves as best they can.

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