The space created by Krymov in “Without a Dowry” reminds us of a Soviet House of Culture, which forgot about its mission a long long time ago, with long rows of coat-hangers and time-worn seats. On the screen, from which the actors have just come down onto the stage, we see the legendary 2008 Russia-Netherlands football match. “The star” of the local snack bar, singer Larisa Ogudalova (Maria Smolnikova) dreams about love and beauty in vain. Her friends Knurov (Konstantin Mukhanov) and Vozhevatov (Vadim Dubrovin) are provincial thugs from the 90s, her fiancé – corporate slave Karandyshev (Maksim Maminov). Peering into the old play, Krymov impetuously draws his very own storyline. Unlike Ostrovsky, no one knowswhat to grab hold of here – no property, no substance. Both the poor and those who have a bit more money go to that local shebeen for entertainment, to listen to this weak-of-voice singer – there is no alternative. Nor does Larisa have an alternative. Whether this charming teenage girl marries the boring clerk or leaves with the loutish Paratov (Evgeniy Startsev), nothing much will change in her life.
Alyona Karas for Golden Mask Russian Case 2018