In December 2015, Vasily Sigarev’s art-house film “Country O3” with Yana Troyanova and Gosha Kutsenko in the lead roles was released on the screens of a few cinemas. This is not at all the usual kind comedy that will make even a skeptical viewer believe in a New Year’s miracle. “Land of OZ”, as its authors called it, is a black comedy.
You can draw an analogy of plots with the famous fairy tale “The Wizard of Oz”. According to the story, the girl Dorothy with a dog got into a foreign country, and now she is looking for a wizard to return home. Along the way, she meets the Scarecrow, and the cowardly Lion, and the tin woodcutter, and evil sorceresses. So Lena Shabadinova, the main character, came to Yekaterinburg from her native Malaya Lyalya to work. And she needs to get to the kiosk on Torforezov Street in order to take a shift on New Year’s Eve. For a naive provincial, a big city immediately becomes a kind of “Country O3”. From the world where Lena lives like in rose-colored glasses, to a cruel and dangerous one.
On the way, a gullible girl gets into a car with a random person. The driver was under butyrate, and the car gets into an accident. Lenka does not know where to go and how to get to a new job. On the square, she goes down the hill and meets Roman. At first glance, the man behaves like an eccentric tyrant. But at the same time, he talks to himself and looks aloof. He launches fireworks from his head and gets burned. Lenka, in search of help, runs away with her dog and gets lost in fright.
And then Lena meets a bard, addicted to the Internet and preoccupied with tantric sex. The silent and weak-willed heroine dutifully remains in the bard’s apartment when his wife, mother-in-law and daughter suddenly return. Lenka had to leave through the balcony. Then the girl ended up in the apartment of the mother of the overage “sofa heroes” and part-time woman – a representative of a network cosmetic company. The woman takes her for a courtesan, and Lenka agrees with everything she is told. Then Shabadinova ends up in a monkey house where the girls are already sitting with unencumbered moral principles. Where does Roman find her?
Roman is like a tin woodcutter. It turns out that his heart is broken into pieces due to the death of his wife. In this world, nothing pleases him, and he has nothing to lose. And this rusty and heartless woodcutter is met by the girl Lena. With her simplicity, naivety and gullibility, she seems to awaken in him an interest in life and faith in people. But for Lenka, “The Land of Oz”, where the Bard is comparable to the Scarecrow, the overgrown children of the cosmetics saleswoman are cowardly lions, the Green Kiosk is like the emerald city that Lena aspires to, and the seller Andrey, like the wizard of Oz, opens his eyes to a completely different world, where even the snow maidens turned out to be prostitutes. All this time, Lena does not notice the madness surrounding her.
Some viewers and film critics interpret “Land of OZ” as a total madhouse. Perhaps it is. The writing of the film’s title is the author’s sarcasm, which is enclosed in it – behind the well-known fairy-tale land of Oz, the country of “zero-three” is hidden. A well-known telephone number that is called to call an ambulance. Perhaps all the inhabitants need urgent help for a long time. So Lena’s sister Irka broke her tailbone at the beginning of the film. And then Lenka herself ends up in the hospital after she was shot in the head with a traumatic pistol. Throughout the film, there is complete madness.
At the end of the film, the Emerald City disappears – in the morning the kiosk was burned by drunken friends Andryukha and Duke. And Lenka Shabadinova woke up in the hospital next to her sister Irka and Roman. And Lenka is no longer in a hurry, she is already close to loved ones.
This film received mixed reactions upon its screening. Although many situations are very vital, the older generation reacted rather negatively to the film. Perhaps the reason for this is the specific toilet humor, which mainly comes from the inhabitants of the 24-hour kiosk on Torforezov Street: the seller Andrey and his friend Duke. In anticipation of the New Year and the new successor Lenka, whom they have never seen, home-grown alcoholic philosophers pass the time drinking vodka and talking about art and life. Rough, but their thoughts are worth quoting.
“Land of OZ” resembles a satirical parable about modern Russia. The philosophy of the film makes you think that we all live in this country. All this is our everyday life, as it is, without censorship.