When you wish upon a czar
In "Poor Liza," the Russian director of "Liquid Sky" films a straightforward story from the old country with absolutely no brain-sucking, heroin-craving space aliens.
By JOSHUA TANZER
Nothing could be further from "Liquid Sky" the weird 1982 film about
heroin-loving aliens who land in New York to suck the brains of human
lovers at the height of passion than a quaint 200-year-old Russian folk
tale, but that's what filmmaker Slava Tsukerman has made as the follow-up
to her cult classic after 17 years.
Liza (Barbora Bobulova) is a good-willed and beautiful peasant girl who dutifully cares for
her frail mother while handling chores in their simple farming community.
One day she catches the attention of a dashing nobleman named Erast (Gabriel Olds), who is
smitten instantly and begins paying Liza secret love visits every night.
The pair keep their affection pure and chaste, and yet, can any good come
of this star-crossed romance between the slumming lord and the farmer's
daughter? Perhaps not, as dourly clucking narrator Ben Gazzara repeatedly
busts into the story to remind us.
|Directed by: Slava Tsukerman.|
Cast: Ben Gazzara, Lee Grant, Barbora Bobulova and Gabriel Olds.
Fans of "Liquid Sky" will not get what they expect if they come
looking for an avant-garde mind-bender, but they may recognize aspects of
the earlier movie's style. People and places sometimes shimmer with a neon
glow, clouds swirl unnaturally in the sky, and characters occasionally
blast in as if riding a lightning bolt. But at heart, "Poor Liza" is a
modest morality tale with some charm and a typically Russian sense
of doom. Poor, poor Liza.
|OCTOBER 1, 1999|
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