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This fascinating independent feature by Gregg Bordowitz (Fast Trip, Long Drop) is a production of a banned blackly comic 1932 Russian play by Nikolai Erdman “about an unemployed man who threatens suicide, only to be plagued by individuals who want him to kill himself on their behalf,” directed in the style of American live TV dramas of the 50s such as Playhouse 90 and Studio One. But Bordowitz's ultimate concern is cold-war ideology, and he takes revenge on both sides by making a suppressed work live in terms that would have been historically impossible. To make the concoction still more pungent, he throws in Soviet archival footage and mordant asides about the story that's unfolding. The idea of this film is at times more alluring than the execution; but the cast—which includes Lothaire Bluteau, Brooke Smith, and Elina Lowensohn—is energetic, and the original score by Lorin Sklamberg that includes a klezmer production number also keeps things hopping.

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