Fans of Russian history will particularly enjoy this satirical political analogy, by director Sergey Ovtcharov which has been compared to earlier film classics such as Repentance and Zelig. Those without the requisite background may be somewhat mystified by it. The story is based on an 1870 novel by Mikhail Saltykov-Schtchedrin, which uses a long and involved tale about the history of one town as an allegory for the Russian nation as a whole. The entire story of the novel is retained in this film, which updates it by including similarly meaningful events in the village from 1870 through to the present. One highlight of the film is the performance of Rolan Bykov as Piotr Ferdystchenko, one of the town's mayors, who undergoes three metamorphoses symbolizing respectively Lenin, Stalin and Khruschev.
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