Archive of films House of Fools / Dom durakov

Russia / France
2002, 104 min

Section: Horizons - Award-Winning Films
Year: 2003

The film is set in an institution for the physically and mentally disabled during the first Chechen War (1996). The medical staff abandon their wards, who are left to face the brutal reality – the presence of the Chechen and, later, Russian command. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize last year in Venice, is based on a true story.


A hospital for the physically and mentally disabled finds itself in the battle zone during the first Chechnya War (1996). Its patients, sensing nothing amiss, carry on their routine life. The obese Vika complains about everything and everyone, the attractive patient Janna surrounds herself with images of her dream “bridegroom” Bryan Adams. Then the inmates suddenly find that the staff have vanished while explosions echo outside. The building is invaded by Chechen soldiers. Janna becomes attached to the actor Ahmed who offers his hand in marriage as a joke. Meanwhile, a Russian captain sells the body of one of his fighters to field commander Vachid with whom he had fought in Afghanistan. In the morning a bloody battle begins, a helicopter crashes in the courtyard and the Chechens flee. The house is occupied by Russians and its inhabitants are faced with further devastation. The staff eventually return and assumes an atmosphere of normality. The Russians search for Chechen soldiers and arrest Vachid, while Ahmed mingles with the patients, safe in the knowledge that they won’t betray him. Janna returns to her dreams of Bryan. Seemingly, there is no great difference between the madness of fools and soldiers. Venice 2002: Grand Jury Prize.

About the director

Andrei Konchalovsky (b. 1937) debuted with The First Teacher (Pervy uchitel, 1965), which was followed by the banned film Asya’s Happiness (1966-1986) and the adaptations A Nest of Gentlefolk(Dvoryanskoye gnyezdo, 1969) and Uncle Vanya (Dyadya Vanya, 1970), the musical A Lover´sRomance (Romans o vlyublyonnykh, 1974) and the epic Siberiade (1978). He then worked in the USA where he made a name for himself with the following films: Maria’s Lovers (1984), Runaway Train (1985), Duet for One (1986), Shy People (1987), Tango and Cash and Homer and Eddie (both 1989). In his native country he made the coproduction about Stalin The Inner Circle (1992), followed by a continuation of Asya’s story Ryaba My  Chicken (Kurochka Ryaba, 1994). He has directed plays, operas and ballets both at home and in Paris, Milan and New York. He has also won a number of prestigious domestic and international prizes. 


Roissy Films
58, rue Pierre Charron, 75008, Paris
Tel: +33 153 535 050
Fax: +33 142 892 693

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons - Award-Winning Films
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky
Screenplay: Andrej Končalovskij
Dir. of Photography: Sergej Kozlov / Sergei Kozlov
Music: Eduard Artěmjev / Edward Artemiev
Editor: Olga Grinšpunová / Olga Grinshpun
Producer: Andrej Končalovskij / Andrei Konchalovsky, Felix Kleiman
Production: Person, koprodukce / co-production: Hachette Premiere et Cie, Bac Films
Cast: Julia Vysockaja / Julia Vysotsky, Jevgenij Mironov / Eugeni Mironov, Sultan Islamov, Stanislav Varkki, Jelena Fominová / Elena Fomina, Marina Policejmaková / Marina Politseimako, Bryan Adams, Vladimir Fedorov
Contact: Roissy Films


Andrei Konchalovsky


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