Living/Жить Curzon Mayfair 21 October

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Grisha is allowed to live because she’s young and good-looking

A severe dose of chernukha (relentless negativity and tedium) here I’m afraid, and delivered rather slowly. Of course if you put a couple of young girls in a marshrutka it will crash, driving their mother from alcoholism to insanity.   Of course if you give a hustler some money on the train home from your wedding he will lure you to an empty carriage and his mates will beat you to death.  Which is just about what you deserve for being so stupid.  Of course the girls’ mother and the never-will-be wife will be unable to show any resistance at all to what has happened to them; their only recourse will be to make believe the dead are still alive and then when that fails to kill themselves and other people as well.  Of course the girls’ mother Galya will manage to find the fatal proportions of gas and air to cause an explosion while Grisha the bride will drag herself back from the brink because she’s young (and good-looking under all the crusty clobber).  And then there’s the story of Artem whose father has run away to live in a hut without shoes and have his bicycle stolen; at least that was obscure enough not to be offensive.

Now the final scene with Grisha at the bus-stop and a woman opens up a stall setting the most godawful tat and Grisha buys herself some crisps and eats them and decides she wants to live in this world tawdry and appalling as it is–that was good, but it wasn’t worth the two preceding hours.

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