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In her glorious adaptation of Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov’s 1920s Soviet satirical novel, director/cinematographer Ottinger luxuriates in visual design, demonstrating her flair for location shooting and her love of color and light. Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages shine through the decay of post-Soviet neglect. Ottinger’s deliberately anachronistic mise-en-scène heightens the irony of this post-revolutionary tale of avarice, a comedic picaresque about two men in search of jewels hidden in the seat of a chair. As the backdrop and political context for this classic story, Ottinger creates a fascinating document of Ukraine circa 2004.


—Susan Oxtoby

  • Year
    2004
  • Runtime
    198 minutes
  • Language
    Russian, Ukrainian, German
  • Country
    Germany
  • Director
    Ulrike Ottinger
  • Screenwriter
    Ulrike Ottinger Based On: The novel by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov
  • Cast
    Georgi Delyev, Genadi Skarga, Svetlana Dyagilyeva, Boris Raev
  • Cinematographer
    Ulrike Ottinger