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She has a chicken egg in her chest

Ninth (2019)

action, drama, historical, thriller
Director: Nikolai Khomeriki
Cast: Daisy Head, Evgeny Tsyganov, Dmitry Lysenkov, Jonathan Solway, Yuri Kolokolnikov
Premiere: November 7, 2019
It was dreamed that “Ninth” was our answer to “Sherlock Holmes” by Guy Ritchie: figured fights of aristocrats in frock-coats knee-deep in mud, deduction and courage. It was dreamed that the Ninth, as the successor, the new big film of the progressive producer Rodnyansky, will inherit everything that was successful in the controversial Duelist – the world of embellished Petersburg of an obscure era breathing with steam and soot – removing a monotonous narrative from there. It was dreamed, finally, that the Ninth would show the lost Russian film industry a bright path to the art mainstream, to the magical world, where it is not necessary to make films only about the military and sports victories of the nation, in order to count on the box office where artistic and authorial expression is permissible, and the viewer likes it, he is not afraid, and trustingly, like a deer, he goes into the light of the screen.

The large-scale project of Alexander Rodnyansky, which cashes out his own status of a public intellectual in this way, developed on the films of Andrei Zvyagintsev (meanwhile, he fled to another producer), probably, it is true that it can be considered successful according to the producer’s checklists. Firstly, we managed to save a lot of money. Speaking the language of an official from the St. Petersburg mayor’s office, the Ninth is reusing the developed material and technical base. Simply put, in order not to come up with another locale, not to make new sets and costumes, they take everything from the “Duelist”. Secondly, the director managed to change from the gloomy Alexei Mizgirev to a more malleable. “Ninth” is the third controversial attempt by the Cannes laureate (however, he received the prize at the main festival of the world for an early short film) by Nikolai Khomeriki to film genre and spectator films. At first, the director made the controversial, loose, but still stylish and cozy film “Icebreaker”, then frankly a failure, from which side look, the glossy office-planktonic drama “Selfie” according to the script by Sergey Minaev. In any case, it is unlikely that such films, as if once seen and forgotten, one in one similar to dozens of others, can be considered successful, and the Ninth easily stands in the same firing line.

Shot from the film “Ninth”
The end of the XIX century, St. Petersburg, serial killings in emphasized mystical circumstances: unknown girls were gutted, their hearts, eyes and other tripe were taken out. One has a chicken egg in the chest, a star is painted on it. As for the first three, we, however, will not find out, because the film somehow begins right away with the fourth criminal episode. The inexperienced investigator Rostov takes up the case (the already phlegmatic Evgeny Tsyganov closes himself even more if you attach a mustache to him), to assist him give a lot of himself imagined Ganin (Dmitry Lysenkov). Occupant arrives from Britain to the city (that’s why we will listen to a good third of the film in English, for some reason translated in a voiceover from schizophrenic documentary films from REN-TV) occultist Olivia Reed (little-known serial actress Daisy Head) with a dark past. Her crazy husband tried somewhere in a stereotypical southern country (the whole episode resembles the domestic thrash action “Rock Climber and the Last of the Seventh Cradle”) to find an ominous book, so that by recipe from it, a dead daughter is resurrected, whose body is soaked in a bathtub, like dirty linen . While the charlatanx Reed makes money through mass communication sessions with the spirits of her ancestors, Rostov, following the best traditions of vulgar cryptological detectives, connects the places of murders on the map, and an uncompleted red star is made of threads drawn through pins. The pentagram, Stirlitz guessed.

Sympathizers could say that since the plot in the yard is the end of the 19th century, then Khomeriki hints at the upcoming revolutions. Like, the spirit of the workers ‘and peasants’ Red Army, which used the notorious pentagonal star as a symbol, blows in the streets of still aristocratic, capital at that time Petersburg. Then the general obsession of the heroes with cheap occultisms is explained: everyone lives in anticipation of the inevitable historical changes and is looking at least in the crystal ball, at least in the coffee grounds for the cause of mental anxiety. However, to prove in court the presence of such a complex semantic background, we do not have enough evidence: the characters are so narrow-minded that they are clearly not suitable for the role of barometers to measure the spirit of the times. Yes, angry terrorist anarchists are briefly mentioned, on which the police are hunting, but they are not mentioned more in the course of action than Sergei Sobyanin comments on the “Moscow affair”.

Shot from the film “Ninth”
It is symbolic that Rostov, the hero of the most stellar artist in the film, Evgeny Tsyganov, turns out to be not a protagonist at all, but a character as a whole that is second-rate, remains an incomprehensible person for us.

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