New Film – ‘In The Hood‘
Olya Zueva’s fluent, stylish and powerful film about life in Vladivostok chronicles the trials and tribulations of Russia’s hungry youths. The film is her directorial and writing debut – an absolute must see if you want to get a glimpse into the complex lives of Russia’s new gen sluggers.
Russia is rough, tumble and totally tweaked – we all know it. It swells with shadowy strongmen, Dark Web freaks, arms peddlers, hackers for hire, weirdo oligarchs, avant-garde artists and thirst-quenching vodka to anesthetize the daily grind. Narco bandits and two-faced bureaucrats vie for influence and intermingle for market share at the expense of good and innocent people.
Russia is made up of a chaotic matrix of creative clans and sketchball players pursuing often conflicting aims – Putin & Co. exercise a near monopoly on force and censorship across the land; Pussy Riot prods and punks the old guard’s cultural parameters, despite being arrested, sequestered and poisoned; the rapper FACE, a.k.a. Ivan Dryomin (our fave!), spits post-Soviet, anti-establishment zingers that inflame the apparatchiks from Crimea to the Kremlin; Gosha Rubchinskiy creates bold, albeit gaudy as f*#k, ex-iron curtain streetwear; and frontline filmmakers/auteurs Olya Zueva (below) and Danila Kozlovsky capture the zeitgeist in the most cunning and creative ways Mother Russia can offer: through hip-hop, cinema, theatrical symbiosis and sizzling artistic synthesis.
For Russian youth, hip-hop is like lightning: it illuminates and confronts the dark dimensions of Russian society just as much as it lights it up with artistic and lyrical sunshine. ‘In The Hood’, a brand spankin’ new film from Vladivostok-native Olya Zueva, is on fire and uses hip-hop as a macro medium to channel ontological minutia and human agency. VIVISXN saw it during ‘Russian Film Week in NYC’ (yep, that’s a real thing) and got hooked. It showcases the whole post-Soviet shebang – the country’s new wave millennial ‘AK-87’ anarchists inspired by the unique energy of Russia’s stalwart youth, who are boldly proclaiming their visions for the country’s creative future, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles and vexing frictions.
The film follows Vova and his best bro Kisa who make ends meet by working for a local goon in Vladivostock until one project forces them to question their ethical thresholds and innermost convictions – and puts their friendship through the ultimate wringer. Written and directed by Olya (who cut her teeth in NYC for many years as a fashion model and dramatist) and starring Danila Kozlovsky (Kisa), Ilya Malanin (Vova) and Angelina Strechina ♡ (Lida ), etc., these pretty, post-Soviet scruffs hustle for a pittance and strive to survive – economically, artistically and morally – in a Dostoevsky-esque wormhole. They freestyle rhyme, freestyle fight, fabricate fierce personas, wheedle the nouveau riche, interrogate orthodoxy, hector local hipsters, show their vulnerabilities and forge whole new paths while living on a razor’s edge.
The film brilliantly captures Russia’s machismo mindset, callous repression, existential alienation, economic stagnation and the transcendental spirit of human goodness. ‘In The Hood’ is a picture of Russians’ infatuation with materialism, music, creativity, pop culture, western influences and the weight of frenetic change. Olya gets gravity, modernity, music, beauty and morality to do a hypnotic dance of life, death and rebirth in a perfect and unlikely Humanist saga. We love! Watch the trailer below. The cinematography is especially solid (props Fedor Lass!). Kudos to Olya Zueva and her talented troupe!
VIVISXN MEDIA – Olya Zueva + Danila Kozlovsky + Ilya Malanin + Angelina Strechina + Art + Fashion + Tech + Music + Pop Culture + 深度学习 + AI + Machine Learning + 音乐时尚 + 艺术 + 高科技 + 流行文化 + 大众文化 + 前卫艺术 + Russian Film + Russian Youth Culture + Filmmaker Olya Zueva + Russian nouveau riche + AK-87 + Moscow Theater + Avant-garde Russia + ‘In The Hood’ + Данила Козловский + Demna Gvasalia + Stylist Lotta Volkova + Fedor Lass + ‘На районе’ Film