In 2018, the family and creative duo of screenwriters-directors Chupov-Merkulova presented their new work to the sophisticated viewer, which (perhaps) did not “surprise everyone”, but certainly did not leave anyone indifferent.
“The Man Who Surprised Everyone” – the film “on the verge of a foul.” The plot is contradictory: both annoying and mesmerizing. The aftertaste of emotions will eventually settle into foam, leaving the main understanding: it was the internal changes in a person that surprised everyone, and not the defiant external component.
What is The Man Who Surprised Everyone about?
The family of huntsman Egor Korshunov lives in the Siberian wilderness: wife, son and father-in-law. Yegor Petrovich is a real Russian peasant, stern and strong. Once, having shot a poacher in the forest, the protagonist loses consciousness. Doctors pronounce a verdict: terminal stage of cancer, two months left to live. Yegor calmly prepares the necessary documents: donations, powers of attorney for the financial stability of the family after his death. A man does not share his health problem even with those closest to him, but everything secret becomes clear after another loss of consciousness.
His wife Natasha takes the patient to a visiting Moscow professor, a local shaman, but all in vain – Egor’s strength gradually leaves. The drinking sorceress either jokingly or seriously tells the huntsman a story about a drake that cheated death. The cunning bird rolled out in the dust, turning into a duck. So death left without recognizing the drake.
The legend of the drake Zhamba becomes a guide to action: a man dresses up in women’s clothes in the hope of outwitting death. Fellow villagers and family perceive with hostility the painted Korshunov in a bright mini. The already taciturn huntsman, after his own reincarnation, no longer utters a sound. Therefore, there is no chance to explain to others. He goes into the forest, eating berries and root crops.
Egor courageously (and silently) endures the bullying of others and the hardships of the life of a hermit. Before the re-diagnosis, the wife returns to the man, also silently taking on the new look of her husband. Fresh MRI scans show that the tumor is gone.
The meaning of the movie “The Man Who Surprised Everyone”
The central theme is the story-legend of the death-defying drake Zhamba, which is why the film itself resembles a parable. The general atmosphere of the picture is surrealism, bordering on fantasy. On the one hand, what is happening is topical, on the other hand, it is too fabulous.
The shocking, strange metamorphoses that occur with the brutal huntsman are woven into simple village life. The first thing that comes to mind is that the film shows the problems of people in the LGBT community. This is how the main character was perceived by other characters in the picture. If the director’s duet pursued such goals, it was far from being the first. Although the film teaches mercy and tolerance towards any person: a sick person (in the case of Yegor), a schoolboy (the son of a huntsman), a gay, everyone, without exception, needs understanding and acceptance of himself by others.
“The Man Who Surprised Everyone” can be interpreted as a deep, mystical allegory. The huntsman symbolizes the average person; a cancerous tumor – an emerging problem, an internal conflict; the inhabitants of a Siberian village are our society, sometimes merciless. Korshunov’s escape from death is an attempt to break the system, to disrupt the usual course of events. The crowd is able to trample even the former leader if he stumbles or his views differ from the opinion of the majority. Egor Petrovich, a respected person in the village, suddenly becomes not just an outcast, but also risks his life, appearing in a contradictory guise.
The wife bitterly says: “And you can’t die as a human being.” But in the end, she returns to her beaten, half-living husband. The scene in which Natalya herself does her husband’s makeup clearly shows forgiveness and complete acceptance of her, but already another husband. The love of the wife is really merciful, long-suffering, as the apostle described it. This note is taken as a basis by the team of screenwriters: a long escape from oneself leads Egor to the origins, to the woman he loves. The feeling of Yegor and Natalia becomes the final point in the “treatment” of oncology. The viewer is forced to think: would mimicry help the protagonist defeat cancer, if not for the support of his wife?
The meaning of the film’s ending
In the last scenes, the viewer sees the main character on a re-examination in the hospital. Doctors ask each other in a whisper: where did the patient’s tumor go? Close-up camera shows Yegor in the hospital room. Facial expressions and eyes speak of calmness and serenity. The nurse cleans the bed of the patient (already former): the man who surprised everyone defeated a deadly disease.
The happy ending is more like a dream. Egor in the final becomes himself again. That is, outwardly he is the same man, the father of the family. But the inner component is completely different – free from passions. The hospital surroundings are symbolic: white walls, a shirt, snow falling outside the window make Yegor unearthly, sexless, like an angel. For him, death no longer exists. Only by overcoming one’s own fears, complexes, pride (“loosen his grip” – as the healer advised the huntsman) can a person be completely reborn and find happiness.