January 2, 2009
Studio: The Disinformation Company
Director: Alexey Balabanov
MPAA Rating: N/A
Screenwriter: Alexey Balabanov
Starring: Agniya Kuznetsova, Aleksei Poluyan, Leonid Gromov
Copyright Holder: N/A
The title of Russian director Alexey Balabanov's twelfth film is a military term for the coffins transporting dead soldiers back home during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The effects of that decade-long conflict provide a unifying theme for this highly controversial film that recalls the work of Gaspar Noe and Michael Haneke but with a distinctly Russian point-of-view. "Cargo 200" begins in 1984 with the introduction of two brothers: a Soviet Army colonel, and the head of the Faculty of Scientific Communism at Leningrad University. The university professor travels to visit his mother in a remote town. When his car brakes down, he stops at a rural farmhouse occupied by a husband, wife and their Vietnamese farm hand. The professor engages in a philosophical argument about the existence of God with the family patriarch, whose heated criticisms of official atheism are fueled by Utopian dreams and vodka distilled in the family barn.