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WRITTEN BY SERGEY DOVLATOV

Starting to talk about Sergei Dovlatov, it is difficult to resist the temptation to Preface the speech with a particularly witty quote from his works. I will not do this because of “proud shyness” and their already wide circulation both on the Internet and in everyday conversation. Sergey Dovlatov is undoubtedly an important figure in modern intellectual literature, and this has long been recognized and justified. It is not surprising that several documentaries have already been made about Dovlatov – some famous, others hardly. In the commentary to the book “Dovlatov” by Kovalova and Lurie, I have already mentioned one of them. In terms of quality, perhaps, this documentary of the “Fifth channel” has long held the primacy in the field of creative biography of Sergei Dovlatov. But…

Recently, a completely different film product appeared in several cinemas (and at special screenings), the film by Roman Liberov “Written by Sergei Dovlatov”. It will be discussed.
The first thing I would like to note is that this film can not be clearly driven into the framework of a documentary. Here everything is closer to a kind of interactive novel, the hero of which is partly Dovlatov, and partly the viewer himself. The story is told in the first person, mostly with the same quotes from the author’s works, very well chosen and to the point. The image of Dovlatov is embodied by photographs, drawings, often animated, rare inserts of comments from the writer’s wife and, of course, the voice of Sergei Puskepalis, which neatly fits into the overall context of the story. Someone may remember Puskepalis for the main role in the movie “How I spent this summer”, a powerful and serious man.
Frame from the film ” Written by Sergei Dovlatov”
What else are we lured to view? The soundtrack to the film is written by the charismatic St. Petersburg group “Billy’s Band”. This ensemble can not be attributed to the traditional or very popular, but in the circle of connoisseurs of high-quality music, its authority is significant. Drive, “raucous chords”, break and lyrics with a fair tint of decadence. I will make a reservation at once, the soundtrack is good, appropriate, complementing the atmosphere of the film with a certain menacing melancholy, but… all this, unfortunately, does not apply to one of the compositions, or rather to its part, which is often repeated. The lines are as follows: “So I rolled down, so I fell, so I rolled down, stumbled, cried.”

I can’t judge whose fault it is more-the Director or the “Billy’s Band” team, but this simply shouldn’t be in a film about Sergei Dovlatov. “Rolling down”? But how?!! Why down?.. In what has this “bottom”? To worldwide fame? To write your best works? To a friendly relationship with Brodsky? For the birth of children? What is it?.. A single piece of the song was able to slap the face of a fan of Dovlatov’s work, who was impressed with the rest of the film. Alas. No, the overall composition of this annoying blunder did not radically spoil, but the delight from the excellent work with graphics and text was blurred.

Frame from the film ” Written by Sergei Dovlatov”
The plot of the film covers all the time of Dovlatov’s life. Starting from the end, and continuing in the usual schedule – from birth, we are led very freely past many events and people. From the point of view of getting information about Dovlatov – this is not the best film, it is unlikely to be interesting to watch people who are not familiar with the work and biography of the writer; “Dovlatov”, released by channel Five, is significantly ahead here, especially the book. But for those who are already familiar with Sergei Dovlatov, Liberov’s film will be a wonderful outlet, allowing you to once again, but in a slightly different way, to communicate with your good friend, which many people consider Sergei Donatovich Dovlatov.

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