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Our review of Captain Volkonogov Escaped: The Inferno


CRITICISM - Natalia Merkulova and Alexei Tchoupov recount the Stalinist purges through the desperate flight of a remorseful torturer. A dense and feverish film from which we emerge overwhelmed.


Leningrad terminal.

In 1938, the purges are in full swing.

In the genre, Stalin stands a little there.

1793, next, will be a joke.

No one will escape persecution.

The arbitrary reigns.

Paranoia swarms.

An officer, who has committed the worst abuses, suddenly feels remorse.

Visions haunt him.

Ghosts assail him.

He wants to obtain forgiveness from his victims.

Only one solution: flight.

Shaved head, red tracksuit, he hides in a city full of dangers, rumbling with threats and symbols.

The torturer no longer knows where to turn.

The civilians are shaking.

The authorities are on his trail.

There are plenty of reasons to prosecute him.

Subversion, high treason, sabotage, the choice is vast.

He is accused of being a spy in the pay of foreign countries.

What has changed in him?

Guilt engulfs him.

His fault is enormous.

If one dared, it would almost be a question of sin, but dialectical materialism does not use such terms.

Captain, Volkonogov would like to be captain from now on of his own destiny.

The task is tough.

He is no longer himself.

Innocence is that lost continent that may never have existed.

The way to forget these "specific methods" in which he participated?

Torture deploys treasures of invention: crushing a suspect by climbing a board together, suffocating him by blocking the pipe of a gas mask or forcing him to sing during his ordeal.

Superiors teach recruits how to shoot opponents in the back of the neck.

Article 58 authorizes all overflows.

Read alsoThe last days of Stalin, by Joshua Rubenstein: the orphan USSR

The hero zigzags through disused factories, rushes through dusty corridors, takes refuge in ruined palaces with floors strewn with straw, hides in sheds with walls covered with saltpetre.

It's a drifting metropolis, dripping

Blade Runner scenery

without neon lights.

An aquarium light bathes this cursed odyssey, halos these nightmarish landscapes where disorder and madness wear uniforms.

We have blood on our hands, but we quote Gogol between two swigs of vodka.

The devil read Karl Marx

The manhunt turns into a path of redemption.

The dead come out of the ground.

Fathers deny their sons and regret not having witnessed their execution.

We were there.

Politics was a steamroller.

It's as if the devil had read Karl Marx.

The captain bangs against the windows.

An orphan throws his faults back in his face.

Even his fiancée asks him to surrender.

Too late.

Grace touched him.

He clings to his illusions, tries to preserve what is left of him that is human.

At one point, a miraculous appearance, an orange Zeppelin flies over the buildings in slow motion under the incredulous gaze of passers-by, a brief moment of peace in this tornado of violence and emotions, reminiscent of a sequence from Hope and


, by John Boorman.

Natalia Merkoulova and Alexeï Tchoupov film like we box.

They jump at our throats.

Warmth is not their forte.

Their cinema does not really purr.

He burns.

Aesthetes will say that it's all very Russian.

This is a compliment.

The executioners also have a soul.

Is this good news?

In any case, it provides this terrible, feverish, inhabited film, clenched like a fist, rough like a lava rock.

It's something.

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2023-03-28

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