1/4/15

GREEN ELEPHANT (1999)

Written by: Greigh Johanson.

Just some minutes before I made the decision to actually review this somewhat strange experience, it was between two minds. What would there be to say about a film that didn't seem to have any substantial meaning at all? Is there anything in this film that could trap an interesting comment to us as spectators? Then I finally realized that; hell yes, this film actually carry on a realistic depiction of violence.




This film is about the relationship between officers in the closed world of a military unit. Two young officers are locked up in a military prison cell, and they have to solve social and psychological problems in this isolated world. Realistic dialogues and landscapes gives us a contrast with the preposterous behavior and brutal design that combined the two characters into a fierce challenge.

Green Elephant is a Russian art-house film directed by Svetlana Baskova. It's also a kind of war-film based on the Bolshevik Gulag. Thanks to its extremely violent images and obscene language it was totally banned in russia because of the explicit scenes with the content of scatology, necrophilia, homosexual rape and murder. The ideological and political sense of the film is even more controversial and it's a cruel and transparent model of a male world, based on militarism and violence - a very peculiar artistic protest against the war. Green Elephant is even more acute because of the escalation of the war in Chechnya and the growing crime in the Russian army.

This film isn't easy slammed, sometimes very difficult, but absolutely worth seeing. It's a fictional film that sometimes feels very documentary because of its simple recording consisting of a VHS camera. It's a film about human freedom, about its meaning and its invaluable cornerstone of the individual. A possible metamorphosis of human nature in an enclosed space with the content of total humiliation and hopelessness. The violent portrayal is built up slowly during anecdotes and bullshit, and finally the bubble they are in cracks and a hell breaks loose when one of the soldiers bidding on homemade feces.

Despite the taboo of provocation, it's a clear sign of how psychologically stressful it must have been for these people to be in these death camps during the Chechen war. A man isn't fully capable to endure psychological abuse over a longer process and Green Elephant carries the absolute darkest of its true nature.

Finally there's not much more to say about the film. It's very strong in its sound, imagery and the spectacle feels very real in many cases. It's dirty, mean and feel very bizarre and sad. It takes an incredible mental strength to even bother with the last 40 minutes of the film consisting solely of humiliation and torture. I highly recommends it to those who are dulled enough to go through films like August Underground and the Vomit Gore- series.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5



Directed by: Svetlana Baskova
Written by: Svetlana Baskova
Produced by: Svetlana Baskova, Oleg Mavromatti
Cinematography by: Svetlana Baskova
Editing by: Svetlana Baskova
Music by: ?
Special Effects by: ?
Cast: Sergey Pakhomov, Vladimir Epifantsev, Aleksandr Maslaev, Anatoliy Osmolovskiy
Year: 1999
Country: Russia
Language: Russian
Color: Color
Runtime: 2h 20min

Distributor: Supernova Group

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