Screening on Film
Directed by Marlen Khutsiev.
With Andrey Myagkov, Rostislav Plyatt.
Soviet Union, 1983, 35mm, color, 97 min.
Russian with English subtitles.
Print source: Gosfilmofund

Based on the short story "Father-in-Law Arrived" by little known writer Yuri Pakhomov, Epilogue marks Marlen Khutsiev’s return to filmmaking—after a long, forced hiatus—in a different era and in a barely recognizable Moscow. The unexpected guest—in the great Rostislav Plyatt's last appearance on screen—cannot recognize the city, either. And Moscow is hardly even present from the confines of the apartment where the absent daughter’s husband has been left stranded with her father. In an uncharacteristically conventional mode, Khutsiev willfully forgoes the medium-altering formulas he single-handedly invented back in the 60s and tricks his audience into thinking he is somehow different too. Don't fall for the trick: it is the same Khutsiev purposefully revisiting his pet themes and motifs and eventually rupturing the fabric of the otherwise classicist narrative in a mysterious and spellbinding scene of photos being developed after the photographer is gone, the past revealing its symbolic imprint in the landscape of today. In the words of Miron Chernenko, "Khutsiev's picture was an afterword with no quotation marks, an epitaph to the epoch of Ilyich’s Gate and July Rain, filmed from a sufficient temporal distance, with few emotions left, yet with all the wisdom and sorrow of a man who tallies up both his involvement in a bygone era and his fate in the 60s and 70s."

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