Window To Paris

This 1994 Russian fantasy-comedy by Yuri Mamin has a fetching premise: a young music teacher in Saint Petersburg who’s renting a room in a family flat discovers a hidden window inside his closet that leads directly into Paris, and many comic misadventures ensue as he and his flatmates pass back and forth between the cities. There are several pointed satirical details: since the collapse of communism the school where the hero teaches has shifted its emphasis from aesthetics to business, and framed blowups of world currencies now decorate the walls; in dance classes the kids perform like Bob Fosse chorus lines. The film is no less sparing when it comes to the pretensions of the French (in particular a woman taxidermist who lives next door in Paris). But Mamin tends to be a rather scattershot director, and this feature runs out of ideas and energy well before its 90 minutes are over. In Russian with subtitles. (JR)

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