I stumbled upon this one while mindlessly surfing the internet, to be honest. Until now I don't know where exactly it was mentioned, but lazy Saturdays do that to people - they make them hunt for new TV series. Especially if you are me. I can be introverted as fuck sometimes, so...

Anyway, I can't recall a case when BBC drama would disappoint me (most likely never), therefore I usually get my favourite marzipan bars and hop under duvet my hopes high.

Thirteen might come as a cliché, if you read the synopsis first, or watch a trailer, safe as they call it. However, I was taught by the years of experience that appearances are deceitful, and film/series synopsis is not enough to reach the verdict.

Here we have a girl who had been kidnapped 13 years ago which leaves us with 26-year old woman,  escaping her prison under mysterious circumstances. The abductor is, naturally, still on the loose, yet this is not the biggest problem she is about to face. The world has changed, as well as her peers, and even family. As the story unfolds, you get the impression that her perverted abductor is in fact the closest she got to having human relationships during these last 13 years. Will she survive her new ordeal - freedom?

In short, it's tense and chilly enough to make forget to take a bite of that marzipan bar while you're watching and it's a game changer for me. What I mean is that you get involved and anticipate, rather then lay back, predict who's who and watch till the end just to confirm you were right.

It's 5-episode mini series, beloved BBC format, each lasts around 55 min and definitely worth wasting your precious Saturday time. 



As it is getting colder and damper I'm starting to look for new ways of preventing myself from curling up on a sofa in front of a screen. I even got a gym membership! Still, I'm not as good at this job as I think. But all you fans of serious drama and ballet should rejoice since I have found a perfect match: new Starz series FLESH AND BONE


Young girl escapes from the small town and her parents' home to New York pursuing her dreams of ballet future. Yet, once she arrives some rather grim details about her personality, as well as the ostensibly glamorous ballerina life are being slowly revealed. 

The main character Claire Robbins is portrayed by a professional ballerina and her acting is as convincing as ever. You might have seen Sarah Hay in BLACK SWAN where she had a short cameo of some sort.

I particularly enjoyed how the show is full of complex and vivid characters: confused, soul-searching Claire struggling to find peace and her roommate - a mediocre ballerina at risk of losing it to the MS. 

Then there is poor little rich girl Daphne hated by her father for choosing ballet over Cambridge and dancing at the strip-club every night. Narcissistic choreographer is a cruel tyrant who holds the power and who, unfortunately, knows best which makes it much more difficult to exclude him from the picture. And like in any other good drama there is a holy fool who speaks the truth to those who disregard him. 

FLESH AND BONE is very bold in its raw depiction of the so-called prohibited topics: nudity (both male and female), sex, incest, drugs, eating disorders, so I hail the fearless showrunners who didn't sell truth for safe and conventional picture. 

A cast consisting of real-life ballet stars (not fully, of course, but still) gives full credit to the beauty of ballet. From the opening sequence to the final scene there's a lot to admire even for the true connoisseurs.

It's dark, it's beautiful, and it's smart. And yes, FLESH AND BONES is miniseries which is rather unusual tactic for American television. Are you watching already?



La Dame dans I'Auto avec des Lunettes et un Fusil

La Dame dans I'Auto avec des Lunettes et un Fusil is not only a movie with the longest title ever, but also a very visual and engaging remake of a 1969 movie under the same title worth spending your precious free time on.


It premiered in France on August, 5 and I came upon it in the list of contestants for the 45th Molodist film festival in Kiev. 

In a nutshell, there's a long-legged girl in a vintage car heading towards the new adventures, magnificent views of the French South and the perfect soundtrack from the 70s.
If you take a closer look, it becomes obvious that what seems to be a typical road movie is full of suspense. 

Je n'ai jamais vu la mer, Dany says, and steals her bosses car. However, this impulsive, head-in-the-clouds creature will soon discover she has bigger worries than not to scratch the car as she falls victim to some dreadful scheme. 

The film is slow-paced, it focuses on small details, and they are very relevant to the story. It's core strength is in strong visuals, rather then action or Shakespearian dialogues.

There was also one face familiar to many: Nymphomaniac's Stacy Martin who didn't have much to say, although the movie gives credit to her model appeal and statuesque body.

Those of you who are aware of the 70s great comeback in fashion may find this film especially inspiring. 





The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

One thing that is unavoidable in post-Soviet states (and that is the moment when all of you thought about corruption) is ugliness. Inextirpable and timeless, it eagerly awaits you at every corner ready to strike.

"Classless society" - one of the leading ideas of communism aimed to bring a new concept into life - egalitarian society, but at some point it all went wrong.

Some say Brits should get rid of the royal family and finally get their happily after. Some say it's the access to education that defines what our children will grow up into. However, this laudable theory of the society where everyone will experience equal rights and opportunities didn't come to the same actualization it has in Western tradition.

In short, this perverted regional variant of classless society meant you weren't encouraged to express yourself, as a matter of fact, you weren't even a central element of the picture. Working class at last could enjoy the appreciation but did it also mean everyone had to literally become classless?

Remember the White and the Red? The aristocracy (as well as other people of influence who didn't, well, hold much of the capital but contributed to the cultural development, e.g. writers)  fled country and took away the brightest minds, nobility and manners with them.

1959 in Moscow, Cristian Dior decided to take over the unknown and showcased his collection in a very unconventional way. Models dressed in Dior from head to toe were walking the streets followed by a photographer. What could serve as a better contrast?

Dior in Moscow, 1959

Do not be misguided by the word ugly here for I have picked it up not as an indicator of bad looks only, but also poor, biased judgments, and unacceptable behaviour.

These events that took place nearly one century ago keep defining who we are today. 

When politicians make their speeches before election and address us with populist words and statements worth a bunch of idiots and definitely not a group of intelligent people let us remember Lenin.  When police refuses to register your complain of domestic violence let us think about Soviet guide books to marriage that justify wife beating. When you see someone dressed like a heavily drunk jester look at the picture of Khrushchev's wife accompanying him during diplomatic visit to the States.

As much as it is easy and heart-warming to have someone perfect to blame, I understand we should take control of the situation, forgive our neglectful parents and move forward - this is what any shrink would say. I wonder, why so many of us prefer not to?


Le film français: La Vénus à la fourrure

My current appreciation for everything French, as well as being halfway to achieving A1 level in la langue française (yeah, pathetic, I know) has led me to a point where I spend every Sunday watching a film of French production.

However, this recently discovered obsession of mine has nothing to do with this post – at least, this is what I would like you to think. 

The concept of auteur cinema, culturally exceptional, art-house film is something the French had implemented right after the World War II and what made them famous. For me, among the list of other arguable important virtues, these are the films that are shamelessly bold and audacious. Films that talk sex and money, and power, and politics, and suicide in the way there are a lot for the viewer to look for between the lines. Paradoxically, women in French cinema do not wear makeup in the morning and look stunning in their natural gorgeousness. Paradoxically, a film of two actors and one location does not fail to catch our attention. 
Unbelievably, a past Broadway success, ex-classical novel turned into a script outshines any rich and fat, every single breath on screen carefully planned by financial advisers, hair dyed one-hundred times to reach a perfect hue films.

Roman Polanski's La Vénus à la fourrure might not have that Palme d'Or thing but it certainly has something absolutely worth your evening.

In the end of his tiresome day a middle-aged director is exasperated to the max been auditioning allegedly talentless actresses for the role of Venus in a play based on the Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's novel
Venus in Furs. When Vanda Jordan arrives late behind our eyes unrolls a scene of a powerplay between a director and an actress, a man and a woman, a master and a slave who are constantly changing places, the suspense is built so fast that you might lose a track. 

But do not expect to see some 50 Shades of Grey twin brother there: Venus in Fur may seem a sado-maso porn as Vanda notes in one of the dialogues with her male counterpart, but in fact, not only it is smart but it is actually the acting that makes it mandatory watching for any cinephile. It is all about how these two bring their pervertedly extraordinary characters to life with theatrical brilliance. 

Directed by Roman Polanski
Starring Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric


Wearing Skirts For Gender Equality

It has not all settled down yet, the ongoing turmoil around the Eurovision winner, mostly that particular gender expression of hers, when this Friday schoolboys in Nantes (Western France) have attended their studies in skirts. What's even more noteworthy here is that it was a campaign for challenging sexism.  

Now, had it happened in my country that is struggling to made its way to the EU (it's Ukraine, in case you didn't know)...the thing is that it would have never happened here. The mere suggestion would outrage all of the devil's BFFs – far-right wing and religious freaks, as it did in France, actually. Malheureusement, they would surely outnumber the French.  

In case you are still whining about the situation with the the gender equality and discrimination in your country (and I'm not mocking it), you should really know that anti-discriminatory law has only been passed few days ago. Furthermore, it does not say a word about the discrimination based on sexual orientation and is generally quite ambiguous, which is totally intolerable for a legislation of any sort.

Surprisingly how, even when integrated into Western world to some considerable extent through my current job, media and pop culture products consummation, living here forces me to get amazed when my fellow student makes a speech on gender inequality at our Rhetoric class. And it does amaze everyone else. 

The aforementioned schoolboys have faces a crowd of angry opposition. Yet, it failed to stop them. Neither did it stop vast majority of EU citizens from believing sexism and stereotyping based on gender to be rather disturbing.  

It is essential, however, that you don't get the wrong impression here. I do not think the war is over in the West in terms of reaching social equality. Still, I can't stop wondering what could have possibly prevented us from getting same rates so far. Perhaps, it is about time and we will get to that point eventually, but for now what is left for us to do is keep bringing these issues up whenever we can for them to begin at least sound commonplace.   



Jarmusch's new vampire drama (god, how pretentious it sounds) has made a lot of fuss in Cannes, Toronto and the rest of the world. While film description places it along with those cliche «vampire movies», so we expect it to obey certain rules and norms, like shallowness, for instance or saliently poor acting, with the opening credits you will reject that hypothesis. Only Lovers Left Alive has it all: exquisite visuals, thought-provoking dialogues, breathtakingly talented actors, in one word - every ingredient to produce a tasteful auteur movie.

Not only there are vampires but they have also got love on their minds and stopped eating, or shall I say drinking, mortals. Does that sound corny? Yes, it does. A lot. Put something on and hurry to the nearest cinema because instead of sickly-sweet you will only see refined and smart.

The storyline in Only Lovers Left Alive is built around a centuries old couple named Adam and Eve, talking in grandiloquent manner and dressed painfully stylish. It is indeed melodramatic enough, yet there is a thin line between Shakespearean melodramatic and mawkish teen movies about vampires. Frankly, I'd go as far as to say this is one of my favourite love stories on screen. Adam is a depressed and reclusive musician tired of meaningless existence of those around him (read mortals). His journey through hundreds years marked many ground-breaking events in both science and art, but now he's experiencing excruciating annoyance witnessing the collapse of human civilization. Even though his wife Eve lives miles away in Morocco, their love is probably the only thing that's keeping him sustained. Well, except for the blood, I suppose. Given that Tilda Swinton is an ethereal creature herself, her Eve is enigmatic, wise and unruffled. Tom Hiddleston, on the other hand, with his posh accent and eyes only genuinely depressed person may have, and I treat it as a medical term here, is a quintessential Hamlet.  

The director negates the mere concept of narrative here. The characters do not pursuit an ultimate goal, as it should be. Instead, their life is based on solving day-to-day issues, mostly connected with food supplies. This technique, however, serves to accentuate the visuality of the film. Sometimes it gets dangerously close to noir, nevertheless, it is romantic to the core. The viewer is to elicit a lot from the way characters dress, the place they are living in, the cities they travel to. Time cease to exist in Only Lovers Left Alive not being important at all. What matters here really is a chance to look at yourself from that very angle that uncovers every flaw.

  In fact, there is a lot of word play, intelligent and not at all subtle, as well as allusions of all sorts. Jarmusch's triumphal comeback is like usual – a must see, artful with a long-lasting aftertaste. The cinematic world, as we all know, always has its own set of rules, however, the world of Only Lovers Left Alive is strikingly real, pushing the viewers out of their comfort zone through tackling some burning issues.
“What are we gonna do now”, - consequently the characters ask themselves the question at some point.