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Scripted by novelist Vladimir Sorokin, this 2004 debut feature by Russian director Ilya Khrzanovsky is puzzling, intriguing, and often compelling, apparently set in the present but magical and futuristic in tone. Three strangers--a prostitute, a meat vendor, and a piano tuner--meet in a bar and bullshit at great length about who they are and what they do before going their separate ways; like them, the film then veers off into different directions, growing increasingly strange and phantasmagorical. A highly original blend of observation and imagination, this remains as unpredictable as its characters (some of whom are stray dogs). In Russian with subtitles. 128 min. Gene Siskel Film Center.

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