Acclaimed Russian filmmaker Anna Melikyan made her feature debut with this eccentric comedy set in a small town that follows a path all its own. Boris (Gosha Kutsenko) is a boxer who is looking for a city where no one is likely to find him, and when his train stops in the town of Marks, he thinks he's found just the place. Checking into the local hotel (where, thanks to a defective K, the neon sign reads "MARS"), Boris soon discovers his new sanctuary is a haven for eccentrics, and he's one of the first people from out of town to willingly come to Marks in years. The people of Marks seem somewhat unaware of the fall of Communism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the town has a unique economic system of its own -- most of the townspeople work for a toy company who pay them in goods, so playthings have become the standard currency. Originally released in 2004 but largely overlooked, Mars was revived as part of a program on women in Russian cinema at the 2009 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
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