Director: Vera Storozheva
Cast: Kseniya Kutepova, Dmitriy Dyuzhev, Evgeniy Knyazev
Russia, 2007, 97’, color
Russian with Turkish subtitles
A predominantly visual film of few words, Traveling with Pets opens simultaneously with a death and a birth: Natalia's husband, to whom she was sold by an orphanage at the age of sixteen, falls dead while selling milk to a passing train. It is at this moment that Natalia finds herself alone and free, an independent agent for the first time in her life. She begins building a new future for herself with small steps: first by redecorating her apartment—by torching her husband's possessions and adorning the one-room shack with a mirror, a flat-screen television, clippings of Western celebrities from pop-culture magazines. Former actress Vera Storozheva (a frequent collaborator with famed filmmaker Kira Muratova) shows considerable skill as director, echoing Natalia’s awakening in a soundtrack that leaves the creaks and disordered noises of a mechanical environment for a more harmonious and natural one, and in cinematographer Oleg Lukichev’s remarkable images, whose drab winter grays give way to a vibrant springtime palette. But it’s Kutepova as Natalia who truly puts the spark in this invigorating example of feminist cinema.
In 1998 Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu collaborated on an obvious remake of Marcel Duchamp’s Roue de Bicyclette, his first “readymade” object. Duchamp combined a bicycle wheel, a fork and a stool to create a machine which served no purpose, subverting accepted norms of art.
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