The Recluse


The Recluse film still

Russia, 2000, 90 minutes, Color
In Russian with English subtitles
Director: Egor Mikhalkov-Konchalovskii
Screenplay: Maksim Stishov
Director of Photography: Mikhail Agranovich
Sound: Roland Kazarian
With: Aleksandr Baluev, Amaliia Mordvinova, Ivan Bortnik, Dmitrii Mar'ianov, Maksim Stishov

In Mikhalkov-Konchalovskii's film, The Recluse, a young college student attempts to unlock the mystery surrounding a popular and prolific author, Konstantin Streletskii (Aleksandr Baluev). Anna (Amaliia Mordvinova), determined to write her thesis on the author, establishes a sexual relationship with Streletskii, which allows her access to his home and to his professional secret.

Anna's detective work and final confrontation with Streletskii adhere to the formulae of the suspense-thriller. The film relies on mystery (doubling of identity/mistaken identity), murder, dangerous near misses, highly selective camera shots reminiscent of Hitchcock and Kubrick, and a spine tingling soundtrack employed to heighten tension at key moments.

As a thriller, the film hinges on the dueling realities of Streletskii's self-imposed confinement to his opulent home versus his twin brother's involuntary imprisonment. The film extends the parasitism inherent in the twins' relationship to the process of producing films in general. Maksim Stishov, whose book (Fanatik) serves as the basis for The Recluse, appears in the film as Streletskii's bilingual agent. At a press conference early in the film Steve (Stishov) announces that NTV-Profit already owns the rights to Streletskii's last whodunit. This seemingly inconsequential statement establishes a more fundamental mystery which remains unresolved by the end of the film---is the film the story of the production of the book, The Recluse, for which the real author finally receives credit, or is the film simply the adaptation of the book itself? This confusion suggests the uneasy symbiotic relationship between those who produce original material and those who appropriate it for (perhaps mutual) profit (underscored by Stishov's role as intermediary). By injecting doubt into both the literary and cinematic creative process the film transcends the traditional formulaic suspense-thriller.

Egor Mikhalkov-Konchalovskii

Mikhalkov-Konchalovskii photo

Egor Mikhalkov-Konchalovskii, son of famed film director Andrei Konchalovskii and actress Natal'ia Arinbasarova and nephew of director Nikita Mikhalkov, was born in Moscow in 1966. He served in the army and retired as a sergeant. In 1987, Mikhalkov-Konchalovskii received a Master's degree in art history from the University of Cambridge in Great Britain. In 1990, he finished a course of study at St. Clare's international school at Oxford and in 1991 he attended Kensington business school. He is the co-owner of studio PS-TVC and has directed and produced more than 120 television commercials. He is married to actress Liubov' Tolkalina with whom he has a daughter.

2000 The Recluse
2002 Antikiller
2003 Antikiller 2: Antiterror
2004: Prophets and Gains Debut Films at Pittsburgh Filmmakers STW [СТВ] Film Company Pygmalion Productions NTV-Profit Film Company

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