Written by: FFT Webmaster | March 29th, 2011
New York, NY – Kino International is proud to announce the DVD release of Ward No. 6 (2009), a film by veteran Russian filmmaker Karen Shakhnazarov (Jazzman, Vanished Empire, and The Rider Named Death).
This “absorbing” (Time Out NY) descent into madness is a bold adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s eponymous short story. It tells the story of Dr. Ragin (Vladimir Ilyin), and how he ended up as a patient in the insane asylum he once led. The film was Russia’s official entry for this year’s Academy Awards and won the Best Actor award (for Vladimir Ilyin) at the Moscow Film Festival in 2010.
Ward No. 6 (2009) comes to DVD priced at $29.95. It is available for prebook on April 26, 2011, with a street date is May 24.
Updating the 1892 tale to the present day, director Karen Shakhnazarov shot the film in a real mental institution on the outskirts of Moscow, and conducted interviews with actual patients, “a sort of Blair Witch-like collage of interviews, recollections and creepy conversations that scrape the far edge of metaphysical uncertainty.” (Time Out NY) A powerful film, Ward No. 6 illuminates the writer’s immortal genius for a new generation.
Born on July 8, 1952, in the city of Krasnodar (southern Russia), Karen Shakhnazarov moved to Moscow when his father Georgy Shakhnazarov became a top Communist party apparatchik and a close adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev.
In 1975 he graduated from VGIK (Moscow School for Cinematography) where he studied film directing under Igor Talankin. After working as a director’s assistant at Mosfilm Studios, Karen Shakhnazarov made three short films, and eventually debuted with his first full-length feature Kind Men (Dobryaki), a low-key comedy about an ambitious and cynical careerist completed in 1980.
The retro musical comedy Jazzman (1983) marked the beginning of Shakhnazarov’s long-term collaboration with scriptwriter Aleksandr Borodyansky, who has cowritten almost all of his films. Another nostalgic musical comedy followed in 1985, A Winter Evening in Gagry (1985), making Shakhnazarov one of the most commercially successful directors in Russia. In 1986 he shot The Messenger (Kuryer), a light-hearted lyrical comedy about an ambitious teenager. Gradually his style darkened, his vision became satirical and sophisticated. His new affection for surrealism is felt in Zero City (1989), a Kafkaesque portrait of corporate madness, Soviet style.
A Rider Named Death (2004) brought the director back to his favorite theme, the history of Russia and its political extremes, in a newly engaged realistic style. And The Vanished Empire (2008), his last film which is also available on DVD through Kino International, is an inspired and tender throwback at the Soviet youth’s first encounters with Western culture.
WARD NO. 6
Director: Karen Shakhnazarov
Color / 83 min. / Russian w/English subtitles / Not Rated / 16:9