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Time Time105 mins
LanguageRussian
Elephants Can Play Football
Слоны могут играть в футбол

Drawing inspiration from Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Mikhail Segal’s Elephants Can Play Football is a melodrama that puts an original spin on the literary classic. The film follows Dima, a deeply lonely 40-year-old businessman, in his struggle against existential loneliness and his search for a real human connection. A series of short-lived relationships with schoolgirls give Dima hope that his life may finally be about to change.

Directed by Mikhail Segal |
Russia |
2018 |
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miss k carreaux
miss k carreaux
Worth watching because it doesn’t go where you expect
Somber, yet frequently humorous examination of existential loneliness from the POV of an ageing (although still young) successful, handsome, sensitive and intelligent man. This is a role that has been explored from the female perspective ad nauseum, therefore watching the same question “is that all there is?” explored by a man who has achieved everything except a meaningful bond with another human being is a welcome change from the cliches. Without giving away the plot surprises, it is a dark film, well worth the time because it’s surprising conclusion reveals a kind of gentle resolution to the main character’s intentions. My only complaint is the sketchy editing - where did barefoot Marsha acquire shoes when she leaves Dimitri’s hotel room, who stabbed him? Was his interest in Sveta stalking? These are small issues but continuity matters if one is to stay within the universe of a story. It draws upon Nabokov only in the most superficial tropes and takes the primary issue, previously stated, to an entirely more aesthetic height. The constant tension is coupled with almost cringey-creepiness of someone trying to find his place in life. The bloom of youth has faded, but has not yet fully disappeared, and makes it a future classic. Also lacking is the main character’s apparent total lack of interest in women of his age and perhaps a sub story as to why he fails to relate to them.
Geraldine Sebastian
Geraldine Sebastian
Engaging
I so desperately wanted to see a happy ending for him. The reality! There’s no such thing. This film left me feeling very sad. Brilliantly acted though.
Awards and Festivals
2018
Award Laurel
Nominee
Best Film
Kinotavr Film Festival, Russia
Cast and Crew