The film by Nikolai Khomeriki “Selfie”, which hit the Russian screens in 2018, definitely became an event. It is based on the work of Sergei Minaev with the same name, only with the postscript “Duhless of the 21st century.” Such an addition is probably a direct reference to the Duhless dilogy starring Danila Kozlovsky, based on the book authored by the same Minaev. The author himself is also present in the film “Selfie” – there he has a small cameo in the scene at the railway station. The genre of the film is drama and thriller. Such genre self-determination is fully consistent with reality – the hero’s self-analysis, his continuous development is responsible for the drama, and intense music, a dark palette of colors and the pace of the narration are responsible for the “thriller” nature of what is happening on the screen.
What is the movie about?
The plot tells about a very famous writer Vladimir Bogdanov, the hero of Konstantin Khabensky. He is a sensation, the “voice of a generation”, who became famous for the book “Bones” and now exploits the success of the first book. Bogdanov hosts a program on a federal channel, meets with readers, writes frankly passing continuations of Bones, and has long owed the publisher a new book, which should be of higher quality. At the same time, the “voice of a generation” spends most of the time getting drunk and making non-binding acquaintances for one night. He has been divorced from his wife for a long time, although he has a warm relationship with his daughter. The usual course of life is destroyed just by a call from a publisher demanding a manuscript within a week. And at this moment, Bogdanov has a double that looks like him in a simply indecent way – the same appearance, the same voice, the same everything. More precisely, almost everything. “Double” is not just a copy of Vladimir, but an improved copy. He is not rude to readers, diligently goes to the shooting of program releases, builds relationships with his ex-wife and communicates with friends whom the original Bogdanov calls only if he has problems. Those around him are sure that the writer has reformed, his double is blackmailing him and demanding a manuscript, and Bogdanov’s attempts to “open the eyes of the world” to what is happening end up with his best friend (the hero of Fyodor Bondarchuk) handing him over to a mental hospital. After Bogdanov gives the manuscript of the new book to the double, the latter disappears.
What is the meaning of the movie Selfie 2018?
The meaning itself lies in the following: Bogdanov did not have a double and never has. The storyline of the real Bogdanov is in fact interrupted by a call from the publisher. After that, we observe the plot of the book he is writing. Its name also pops up in the work: discussing this whole situation in prison, Vladimir, in a conversation with his double, throws the phrase “Just some kind of selfie.” “Selfie” – that’s the name of his new book, which now should return him to his former success. Much of the film is a journey through Bogdanov’s speculation about what would happen if a well-known writer (and not necessarily a writer) had an “improved copy” that effectively took his life for himself. This is an attempt to take that same selfie, only without looking for a good angle or idealizing effect, to see yourself as you really are. The need from time to time to also have the courage to look your shortcomings in the face and try to correct them is one of the main ideas of this film. We return to the real Bogdanov already in the finale, where he and his daughter look at the poster of their new book and “let go” of the idea of a double.
In addition to the purely dramatic component, concentrating on the development and introspection of the protagonist, the film has a very clearly expressed idea that he wants to convey to the viewer. This idea is even expressed in the words of Bogdanov himself. It consists in the fact that the writer does not have to actually live something in order to write about it. The writer lives this situation emotionally when writing about it. So Bogdanov himself changed after the publication of the book – and changed for the better. He lived this part of his life with his autobiographical hero, developed along with him. After all, “didn’t Dante have to die to write about Hell?” (slightly altered quote from the movie). In addition to this, the film has a light social commentary, expressed mainly in the releases of the program hosted by Bogdanov, and the motive of a person’s eternal desire for self-destruction, and the eternal theme of the family. So, there is something to choose from.
The meaning of the ending
The meaning of the ending is to dot all the “i” and hints to explain the meaning of what has been happening on the screen all this time. We see how the main character has changed, what he had to do for this, and we are convinced that. Indeed, the writer does not need real experience – enough courage, imagination and a deep ability to empathize.