KOSICE: Michael Idov’s debut feature The Humorist is one of two Latvian coproductions screening in the main competition of the Art Film Festival, which runs 14 – 22 June in Kosice, Slovakia.
The film is a coproduction between Russia, Latvia and the Czech Republic, and began shooting in Latvia in the fall of 2017.
The story, written by Idov, follows a week in the life of Boris Arkadiev, a fictional Soviet stand-up comedian, in 1984. Boris is tormented not only by external oppression and censorship, but also by his own insecurities that poison all his relationships. The comedian takes his revenge through his “insult humour”.
“For me, the story of Boris Arkadiev is intensely personal on several levels. I have set it in my hometown of Jurmala, the year 1984 places it deep in the realm of my own childhood memories and, in many ways, I intend it to be a confession and exploration of my own compromises and insecurities, both as a Soviet Jew and as an American, whose odd biography has led him to become a public figure in the modern Russia,” Idov said in a statement.
The film has an international cast and crew and stars Aleksey Agranovich as Boris Arkadiev. The cast includes Yuriy Kolokolnikov, Alisa Khazanova, Vilma Kutaviciute, Semyon Steinberg, Artyom Volobuyev and Polina Aug.
The film was produced by Artem Vasilyev through Russia’s Metrafilms, Andrey Saveliev, Aija Berzina through Latvia’s Tasse Film and Artemio Benki through Sirena Film from the Czech Republic. The project was supported by the Russian Ministry of Culture, the National Film Centre of Latvia, the Riga Film Fund, the Czech Film Fund and Eurimages. The budget is 1.3 m EUR, representatives of Metrafilms told FNE. It premiered in Russia on 1 March and was released in the Czech Republic on 24 April distributed by Artcam Films, following its screening at Febiofest. It will be released in Latvia in the autumn of 2019, and was in the main competition of the Transilvania IFF, which concluded on 9 June. Berlin based sales agent m-appeal picked up the film after its screening in the Berlinale market.
Michael Idov moved to the USA from the former USSR. at the age of 16. After a degree in film studies from the University of Michigan, he embarked on a series of odd jobs that included anchoring a Russian news programme and owning a failed coffee house, and ended with his joining the staff of New York Magazine.
Credits:Director: Michael IdovScriptwriter: Michael IdovDoP: Aleksander SurkalaCostume designer: Aleksander OsipovProduction designer: Aivars ŽukovskisCast: Aleksey Agranovich, Yuriy Kolokolnikov, Alisa Khazanova, Vilma Kutaviciute, Semyon Steinberg, Artyom Volobuyev, Polina Aug