RIFF Movies Archive


Russia, 2004, 35 mm - Color - 126 min.

Ilya Khrzhanovsky

Marina Vovchenko ,Irina Vovchenko ,Svetlana Vovchenko

Vladimir Sorokin

Yelena Yatsura


Why are people allowed to beat up millions of farm cattle, yet afraid to run over a dog whilst driving their cars? Why do people strive to clone other people, if another sister can’t substitute a dead sister, even if they are twins that look absolutely alike? Why does a woman have to lie about working in advertising when in reality she is selling her body; why does a man tell servant-rumors about the president's family and lie about working in the president's administration, although he is really a businessman. Is it so hard for a man to acknowledge that in this day and age he tunes pianos? Where is the border between life and death, and how high is man allowed to raise the curtain to look over to the other side? Is not science, in fact a form of contemporary magic? A deserted village out in the middle of Russia and an all-night bar in a big city.A doll whose face is molded from bread, and whose genitals are folded out of rags… What if you make a mask of a real person and then turn it into a doll face and then burn it on a macabre ritual fire? Could this medieval shamanism create what we call clones? Is this woman we see rushing to her sister's funeral after an orgy traveling through time or is she moving through space? Can both of these worlds really co-exist in contemporary Russia? These worlds are so disparate that the director broke the taboos, rules and norms of the accepted cinematographic language and used two different edit rhythms, and two divergent concepts for both sound and visuals. However, a closer examination reveals that these two worlds - are but clones of each other, only they duplicate reverse reflections, like positive and negative film. Like the mirror and that which lays beyond…

Ilia Khrzhanovsky was born in 1975 in Moscow, into the family of Andrey Khrzhanovsky, the influential Russian animator. He studied at the Bonn Academy of Fine Arts in 1992-93. In 1998, Khrzhanovsky graduated from VGIK, the top Russian cinematographic school, where he majored in film direction under the tutelage of Marlen Khutsiev. He directed a theatrical production What I feel (which premiered at the Kukrart Festival in 1997 in Petergof. He directed a short feature, Ostanovka (A Stop) in 1998, together with Artem Mikhalkov. 4 is Khrzhanovsky’s first feature-length film.




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