Archive of films Room and a Half / Poltory komnaty ili sentimentalnoje putěšestvije na rodinu

2008, 130 min

Section: East of the West - Competition
Year: 2009

"Poets always return – in the flesh or on paper” – an expression of nostalgic resignation from Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky (1940–1996), visualised in an unusual film portrayal of the lives of his family. The film features animation incorporated into live-action sequences, while evocations of historical events are woven into the more personal elements of the story.


This film portrays the life of Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky (1940–1996), who was forced into American exile in 1972. Severed from his native St Petersburg (Leningrad until 1991; he sought its substitute in Venice, where he is buried), he wrote his memoirs in prose form which screenwriter Yuri Arabov used as a base, fulfilling the director’s idea of the fragmentary structure of live-action sequences, woven together with a stream of animated associations. The poet’s companions during his childhood and maturation are his parents, perceived as unchanging over the years. Their love carries him through the peripeteia of war and beyond, it protects him from anti-Semitic attacks and pressure from the regime. Conflicts with history pervade intimate details of family life, as recalled by a memory unencumbered by hatred. A significant role in the film is played by the palace owned by Prince Muruzi, where the family were allocated a room and a half. The house is part of the magical atmosphere of the city in which Brodsky began life as a poet, a city for which he yearned for the rest of his life, and where he returned in his wistful reminiscences.

About the director

Andrey Khrzhanovsky (b. 1939, Moscow) studied film direction at VGIK (1962) and then worked for the Sojuzmultfilm studio; he has been teaching animation at the Higher Courses of Script Writers and Directors since 1982. After his debut Once upon a Time There Lived Kozyavin (1966) he became established as an important film animator whose work reflects existential issues in the context of cultural phenomena. Other films inspired by the fine arts and literature: A Glass Concertina (1968), In the World of Fables (1973), I Fly to You as a Remembrance (1977), And I Am with You Again (1980) and The Return (1990). He garnered the greatest number of awards at home and abroad for the film Lion with a Grey Beard (Lev s sedoy borodoy, 1995). His series of films about people, events and art includes Room and a Half about the life of the poet Joseph Brodsky.


School-Studio Shar
Leningradsky Prospekt, 21, 125040, Moscow
Tel: +7 495 6121019
Fax: +7 495 6144071

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: East of the West - Competition
Director: Andrey Khrzhanovsky
Screenplay: Jurij Arabov / Yuri Arabov, Andrej Chržanovskij / Andrey Khrzhanovsky
Dir. of Photography: Vladimir Bryljakov / Vladimir Brylyakov
Editor: Vladimir Grigorenko, Igor Malachov / Igor Malakhov
Producer: Andrej Chržanovskij / Andrey Khrzhanovsky, Artěm Vassiljev / Artem Vassiliev
Production: School-Studio Shar
Cast: Sergej Jurskij / Sergey Yursky, Alisa Freindlich / Alisa Freindlikh, Grigorij Ditjatkovskij / Grigory Dityatkovsky
Contact: School-Studio Shar


Andrey Khrzhanovsky

Film Director

Artem Vassiliev



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