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‘The Painting’ tells the story of an artist that is supposed to create a so-called masterpiece for a biblically themed fair, and how his whole life is changed by putting too much of his talent into practice. The Kafkaesque bitterness of this story appears at the beginning, and it builds up until the whole tale reaches catastrophic proportions. As it happens in most former communist countries, when some lightheaded deputy does not understand something, they try their best to ban it. What is different now from forty-fifty years ago is that the media covers these kinds of stories, and the population may oppose to what the state feels inadequate and are supporting the artist with great determination.

The whole story has a comedic effect that can be found deep in the profound story – the state bans an artist, and they make such a big fuss about it that the artist becomes a celebrity. On the top of our heads is the story of the punk experimental band ‘Pussy Riot’ that made some anti-government statements, becoming persona non grata in a blink of an eye.

‘The Painting’, being made in Russia, borrows from the impeccable storytelling of the Russian authors who knew how to bring to light mundane subjects with a great twist. For example, when the State Deputy speaks for the local TV-station from her office, somewhere on her desk there is a picture of Tsar Nicholas the second, the last Emperor of Russia who  was killed by the Bolsheviks. The decadence of the Tsar is similar here with Ivan’s, as both of them had a privileged status until one point when some no brainers intervened to stop their pursuit. The placing of the picture wasn’t accidental, so expect to find more hidden treasures like this one.

Sergey Kalvarskiy and Stanislav Romanovsky's ‘The Painting’ is by far one of the best comedic short movies we’ve seen in the past year, reason why we bet it could quickly go on any critic’s highlight reel.

Written by Vlad A. Gheorghiu

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