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Petrov’s Flu
Institute of Contemporary Arts
June 2022
Petrov’s Flu, dir. Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia / France / Switzerland 2021, 145 min., Russian with English subtitles, 15


Kirill Serebrennikov (The Student, Leto) recently received a dubious conviction for embezzlement in his native Russia, an apparent show trial condemned by Human Rights Watch and other independent observers. But before he fell victim, the dissident director managed to complete this giddy feature, a dizzying journey into the life, mind and wild imagination of an ailing artist during a flu epidemic.

Petrov (Semyon Surzin) is a car mechanic and comic book artist living in the unremarkable city of Yekaterinburg, and Petrov has the flu. So does Petrova (Chulpan Khamatova), his estranged librarian wife. And so does their young son (Vladislav Semiletkov), who’s nonetheless still hoping to attend an upcoming party. As Petrov’s illness takes hold, he meets the slippery Igor (Yuri Kolokolnikov), a neighbour. And before long, Petrov’s reality – and Serebrennikov’s film – soon begins to blur into a series of otherworldly hallucinations.
 
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