Tale in the Darkness -- Film Review

Benjamin Walker
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NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13:  Actor Benjamin Walker attends the "Bloody Bloody Jackson" opening night after party at Brasserie 8 1/2 on October 13, 2010 in New York City.

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CANNES -- Sometimes a comedy -- assuming that the Russian film "Tale in the Darkness" is actually intended as a comedy -- does not travel well. Director Nikolay Khomeriki's film, written by himself and Alexander Rodionov, is a dour exercise in Russian doom and gloom but is too trivial and light to be taken as a serious film. Needless to say, film festivals are the only platform for viewing this film outside of its native land.

Anguelina, portrayed by Alisa Khazanova, is young and pretty but has no social life. The reason: She's a cop in an unnamed seaside town. One potential mate is seeing fleeing as if for his life but -- hey, cultural differences -- maybe being a cop in Russia means something else than it means in, say, the U.S. or France. Since her caseload has to do with orphans and at-risk kids, she doesn't seem all that terrifying.

She does move around town, whether on the job or off, with a sad, worn expression on her face that would give any male pause. She smiles perhaps twice in the movie.

She takes a dance class but no one will be her partner despite the fact she doesn't wear her uniform. Who knows she's a cop? She takes sexual harassment by a police colleague (Boris Kamorzin) almost with a sense of pride. Or at least she gives as good as she gets. The two probably secretly love each other, but then again who knows?

The good news is the film clocks in at 76 minutes. The bad news is that Cannes programmers included it in Un Certain Regard, thereby taking up a slot a much more worthy film deserved.

Un Certain Regard

Production companies: Koktebel Film Co.
Cast: Alisa Khazanova, Boris Kamorzin.
Director: Nikolay Khomeriki.
Screenwriters: Alexander Rodionov, Nikolay Khomeriki.
Producer: Roman Borisevich.
Director of photography: Alisher Khamidkhodjaev.
No rating, 72 minutes.