I screened a cool bunch of films at home that premiered in Montreal for the 23rd Fantasia International Film Festival this summer. Unfortunately some were never included in the screener list – one which includes comedic action drama, Why Don’t You Just Die, Kirill Sokolov’s directorial debut centered on the calamity between a young thug, and his girlfriend’s abusive brooding Moscow cop father.
The film opened in Russia in April while screening at a raft of festivals around the world in addition to Fantasia, including premiering at Tallinn Black Nights last year 2018, as well as What The Fest in March and Cineopocalypse in June. The film is also due to screen for Arrow Video FrightFest this weekend in the U.K., and with the good fortune of sales agent Reel Suspects selling North American and U.K. rights to Arrow Video according to Elsa Keslassy who elucidates the exclusive buzz points at Variety:
Sokolov said the film’s reflects on “the realities of life in Russia, modern relationships, and societal attitudes.”
He added that the film is intended as an “emotional rollercoaster, making the audience laugh, cry, and laugh again – but then immediately feel a sense of unease for having laughed.”
Kevin Lambert, the head of catalogue at Arrow, described “Why Don’t You Just Die!” as a “knockout debut from an extremely talented filmmaker who definitely has a bright future ahead of him.”
“We were extremely impressed with the concept and relentlessness of both the gore and the comedy that the film brings to the screen,” said Lambert.
Reel Suspects’s CEO, Matteo Lodavina, said the daring film has proven to be “a great hit both with festival programmers and buyers.”
Rupert Bottenberg summed up the film with a splashy appeal to the masses for this year’s Fantasia.
Calling him “ruthlessly deliberate in his decisions”, he also notes: “Sokolov isn’t shy about sharing from whence he cometh, echoing Tarantino and Raimi, early Coens and with in-your-face trumpet flourishes, classic Leone. Charging ahead at full throttle, though, he soon enough shows his own sure-footed synthesis of suspense, drama, dark comedy, and deranged, detail-oriented ultraviolence.”
He adds, “It’s all expressed in that bemusing Russian syntax — not ‘laugh till it hurts’ but rather ‘hurts so bad ya gotta laugh’ — and with the cool timing and emphasis of a seasoned jazz drummer.”
I’d say that given current events, Why Don’t You Just Die, for its niche-targeted release, will be an invariably welcome feat for anyone who loves R-rated cinematic thrills, spills and unapologetic fun away from the mainstream exhibitor scene what with the cancellation of Craig Zobel’s The Hunt setting a pretty questionable precedent in my book.
Keslassy’s report also clears releases via the following labels and with other territories pending: Alamode for Germany and Austria, Wild Bunch for France, King Record for Japan, Koch for Italy, Borsalino for Latin America, Mayfly for Poland, Laon-I for South Korea, Njuta for Scandinavia, Machi Xcelsior for Taiwan.
Why Don’t You Just Die stars Vitaliy Khaev, Evgeniya Kregzhde and Aleksandr Kuznetsov. Take a peek at an early trailer and keep your eyes peeled and your WiFi on for more info.