Just as it’s name, Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s movie shows ‘4’ in many scenes: the number of people sit in the bar, the number of dogs on the road, the four sisters in the village…According to Khrzhanovsky, 4 was inspired by certain musical compositions (by Metalica on Valium?), the paintings of Goya and other artists, and the films of art-house directors such as Jean-Luc Godard and Andrei Tarkovsky. The movie features the grey Russian sky, the long and cold winter with everything seems lifeless and unusual. Are people satisfied with the way they are living, are people dreaming to experience something new in another life? In the movie, people are not satisfied with the way they live, but just a small number of them want to make a change. Sometimes, people who are alive are already dead inside.

Some people like to hide themselves in order to escape from the of themselves, however, there’s always some person to remind you who you really are. The talking in the bar is like a kind of escape for the three people, but when they go back to their life, the short break ends. One of them has to face to the suspect of murder, one has to face the death of her sister, one has to hide his love for dogs because of his controlling father’s Germaphobia issues. Life has to continue in the way it was. The movie talks about some serious issues in the contemporary Russia such as prostitution, masculinity, pragmatic identities. The man who loves dog but can not keep one himself, and eventually he was skilled because of a dog; a prostitute who is judged by all people is the one actually realizes how ‘different’ the village is and is determined to make a change. On her way home, different people sit beside her, they all ask the same questions, eat the same boiled eggs and drink Vodka, the scene looks like they are abusing on food and alcohol. Nobody seems to care about anybody else. What the difference between the individuals, just the names?

I can not forget the scenes of the village life, I said that is “different”, but actually it is cruel. A village which is almost occupied by old women, only three young girls (alive) and one young man. The eating scenes can be the most disgusting and cruel scenes of the year, I think. That is a village exists in the world, but out of the world. They relying on doing doll business, and by following one sister, they can earn money and live happily. I’m still shocked by the face of the dolls, it’s the doll without feeling and beauty and stuffed by chewed breads. Finally, the dogs eat the dolls, the chewed breads actually. After the young sister’s death, they started their “feast” (at least it looks like that), I can feel the other young sister’s lost because of the death, they keep drinking Vodka and crying, but the old just make the lose as an excuse to indulge themselves. They show off their breasts, tell the secrets of others, in fact, the feast never stops, they drink by the table, they drunk by the table and they sleep by the table. The young girls try to work out their relationships, the past and the future, they were born in the village, they know how “different”the village is but they have been living with that, after the death, they make their minds to do some change. When the old women put the whole roasted of pigs, the shocking starts. May some people think they can not eat the food like that, but the only difference is the size of your serve, the place where you are eating, but the difference between human and animals are just those moral sense. I still remember when I watched the scene one old woman throws the pig’s head to other living pigs, I closed my eyes, I really can not stand by it any more. I forced myself to think the world is beautiful, outside the theater is full of sunshine, there’s no chance to meet the people like that. But, can it? There must be some place are be like that, and some people live in that way, or, the place that most people are living in is really much better than the village in 4 ?

The gender issues, the war, the discrimination, the pollution, the national identity… there are a huge amount of issues that are irritating people, people are unsatisfied, people are feeling unsafe, people are struggling, therefore, who can find the way escape faster who wins.

4.jpg