Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

A FRIEND OF THE DECEASED
(Priatiel Pako?nika)

Year: 1997
Country: Ukraine/France
Run Time: 100 minutes

Post-USSR Kiev. Jobless scholar Anatoli finds his academic background worth less than the parer it's printed on. Furthermore, his wife's career as an ad exec takes off like a rocket. And so does she, quitting Anatoli for another man. Despondent, Anatoli invests in one of the many new commodities and services that can easily be hired: a hit man. Negotiating through a third party, Anatoli pays a professional assassin to find and kill him, a fitting and poetic end in the new free market world. The only hitch would be if Anatoli decides to call off the contract, but that would never happen, of course. Until, on what's supposed to be the last night of his life, Anatoli unexpectedly responds ot the vivacious prostitiute Vika - and then starts to have second thoughts about his business arrangement. Uh-oh, sounds like a Hollywood "high-concept" plot that would plug in Sly or Whoopi and let the chase scenes roll. But you're in the capable hands of master filmmaker Vyacheslav Krishtofovich, whose "Adam's Rib" was the hottest ticket of the 16th CIFF, and who brings keen insight and observance to the darkly satirical premise. "In Ukrainian the word "love" and the word "pity" are sometimes considered synonyms," he writes. "That is why I made this film about people whom I pity. And whom I love." (In Ukrainian with English subtitles)

Screenplay
Andrei Kourkov

Director
Vyacheslav Krishtofovich

Producer
Mykola Machenko, Pierre Rival

Cinematography
Vilen Kaluta

Editing
Eleonora Surnovska

Principal Cast
Alexandre Lazarev, Tatiana Krivitska, Eugen Pachin, Constantin Kostychin, Elena Korikova, Angelika Nevolina

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