Archive of films Poisons or the World History of Poisoning / Jady ili Vsěmirnaja istorija otravlěnij

2001, 106 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2001


As in Full Moon, the filmmakers have once again combined anecdotal incidents with a journey to another time dimension in order to ironically treat the most famous cases of poisoning. The mundane story of an actor named Oleg, whose neighbour Arnold has lured his wife Katya away, becomes phantasmagoric after Oleg unexpectedly meets a pensioner named Prokhorov. The elegant old man begins to hint at ways the jealous husband can poison the adulteress. Prokhorov’s theoretical lessons, which include practical instruction, are livened up with cases drawn from ancient Persia and Greece. After committing a sophisticated murder Oleg, too, will be able to gain immortality and walk among them. But in reality Oleg finds happiness alongside Arnold’s ex-wife Zoya. Later, as an actor, he has success portraying Cesare Borgia whose fate Prokhorov had described to him. Prokhorov decides to become a Ukrainian citizen and moves to the Crimea to spend his last years.

About the director

Karen Shakhnazarov (b. 1952) shot short satirical films and wrote scripts after graduating from Moscow’s Film School (VGIK) in 1975. He gained a measure of fame with his nostalgic musical comedies We Are from the Jazz Band (1983) and A Winter Evening in Gagry (1985). In 1986 he was awarded Special Merit at the Moscow IFF for The Courier, and was accorded further recognition for his fantasy vision of the absurdities of the totalitarian regime in Zero Town (1989). This was followed by Assassin of the Tsar (1991), a sombre historical fiction starring Oleg Yankovsky and Malcolm McDowell. He then confronted the distant past and present in the playful Dreams (1994), and in American Daughter (1995) humorously compared Russian and American ways of thinking. Full Moon won Best Director at the Karlovy Vary IFF in 1998.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: Karen Shakhnazarov
Screenplay: Karen Šachnazarov/Karen Shakhnazarov
Dir. of Photography: Vladimir Klimov
Music: Anatoly Kroll
Editor: Lidiya Milioti
Producer: Galina Šadurová / Galina Shadur
Production: Mosfilm Cinema Concern, "Courier" Film Studio
Cast: Ignat Akrachkov, Oleg Basilashvili, Zhanna Dudanova, Alexander Bashirov, Olga Tumaikina, Ludmila Kasatkina, Andrei Panin, Nikolai Afanasjev, Yuri Osherov, Elena Fomina, Alexander Andreevich, Nina Nikolaeva, Marina Kazankova, Ekaterina Klimova

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