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921 Ratings


Теснота | Tesnota

Directed by Kantemir Balagov
Russia, 2017


In the late-1990s squalid town of Nalchik, a poor young Jewish couple is kidnapped and a grievous ransom is demanded, as bitter resentments and cruel dilemmas come to light, magnifying the small community’s grave predicament.

Our take

This powerhouse debut by Kantemir Balagov, a student of master Aleksandr Sokurov, delves into the fraught relationships of the small Jewish community inside the Caucasian city of Nalchik. Darya Zhovner’s performance as a young woman seeking freedom from a confining world is fierce and unforgettable.

Closeness Directed by Kantemir Balagov
It’s a difficult film, erratic in shape and exhausting in its sensory intensity; however, thanks to the sheer force and precision of Balagov’s direction, it’s never anything short of transfixing.
April 03, 2018
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Austere, intense, claustrophobic and shot through with brilliance. . . . The director Kantemir Balagov crams his frame with people — a celebratory dinner is a bravura example of his use of cinematic space — a choice that captures the existential push and pull of identity.
March 27, 2018
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The film is dense, often moving, very successfully conducted. But after an hour, it freezes entirely. . . . In retrospect, it seems incredibly bold from first-time director Kantemir Balagov to have bet that we would still be able to care about the problems of his fictional characters after having been reminded so vividly of the horrors of history.
February 13, 2018
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