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original title: Triapichniy Soyuz

2015, DCP, 96 min., Russian

art-actionism juvenile

CATEGORIES : Lyrical Comedy, Debut
PRODUCTION : BUDGET : 1 400 000 euro



Alexander Pal (Gorko! (aka Kiss them All), Gorko 2!), Ivan Yankovskiy (Indigo), Vassily Butkevich, Pavel Chinarev (Garpastum), Fyodor Lavrov (Ottepel), Anastasiya Pronina (O chyom govoryat muzhchini)


Director : Screenplay : Mikhail Mestetskiy (writer of the “Legend № 17”)
Cinematographer : Timofei Parschikov
Producers : Roman Borisevich, Alexander Kushaev


FESTIVALSFUNCINEMA 2017L’Aquila Film Festival 2017Berlinale (Generation 14plus) 2016, Cinema in Sneakers 2016, European Film Festival Palić 2016, Giffoni Experience 2016, KINOdiseea – International Children Film Festival 2016


Life of an ordinary teenager Vania changes after the acquaintance with three different strange guys. Sportsmen, artists, dreamers – they call themselves “Triapichniy soyuz” and believe they can change the whole World. They are preparing “arty” protest actions. Vania taken with new friends enters into their “greatest organization”.


Gabriele Niola, BadTaste

E per fortuna Mikhail Mestetskiy non ha intenzione di essere più serio di loro, li riprende con lo stile libero più felice e soprattutto li scrive con la libertà di farli scontrare e reincontrare, senza temere nemmeno la morte e il ritorno dalla morte. Con un po’ di vitalità funerea di Kusturica e un po’ di spensieratezza da Nouvelle Vague (ma senza quella gravitas), Rag Union è un felice inno, una corsa bellissima. Le aspirazioni sono ai minimi storici per questo film e forse proprio per questo sembra così sorprendentemente riuscito, così felice nel mettere in scena baracche ricostruite, impossibili visioni e una serie di immagini di grande efficacia su un desiderio di morte latente eppur presente in un gruppo di idealisti immersi nella più bieca umanità russa (che poi non è diversa dagli equivalenti di altri paesi).

Massimiliano Luca, NonSoloCinema

“In questo film ho messo in scena tutta la mia esperienza giovanile – ha raccontato il regista –  Soprattutto l’incontro col gruppo artistico “RADEK”. Ho sempre desiderato descrivere in qualche modo il processo della ricerca creativa, della formazione e della maturazione di un artista contemporaneamente alla totale stupidità tipica dei ventenni. Volevo mostrare l’insieme di quelle idee strepitose che eccitano le persone soprattutto a quell’età, ed allo stesso tempo, l’incapacità di risolvere le più semplici questioni familiari, sociali ed amorose”

Sons of anarchy: disaffected youth as you’ve never seen it before in new Russian comedy Rag Union

by Andrei Kartashev, The Calvert Journal

Indeed, as early as in 1880, Dostoyevsky wrote of such young men, the “Russian boys”, in The Brothers Karamazov: “They talk of the existence of God and immortality. And those who don’t believe in God talk of socialism or anarchism. […] Masses of Russian boys do nothing but talk of the eternal questions.” That is exactly what the Union members do as a modern version of the Dostoyevskyan brothers — one of them is an ardent communist committed to a political cause, another a cynical wannabe artist (“Dude, say ‘irony’,” he tells Vanya when asked about the group’s philosophy), while a third is inclined to religious mysticism. Their older siblings would be the famed figures of contemporary art activism — Pyotr Pavlensky, Pussy Riot and Voina — and one thing that the Rag Union lack in comparison, above courage, is a consistent ideology. Not that it was bad according to Mestetsky: “Sometimes a fight without a cause has more meaning than a fight that has one.”


At the backdrop of green meadows, cows and goats occurs neither more nor less than a mental revolution, where a new generation in fantasy fights corruption and slavery. Pluses of the film-the dynamics of the plot and meaningful dialogue. Cons — rude and focus solely on the male audience. The only girl — a Tomboy Sasha (the unpleasant image of a vengeful dummy) constantly kicked out, and after it you may want to go and the spectators. The Director of “Union Rag” Michael Mestetsky started with short films. “Feet — an atavism” — a short hard film with black humor was well received at festivals. “Union rag” also was a success. The film won the prize of the Kinotavr film festival for best actor.


Like the punk kid brother of Andrey Zvyagintsev, Mestetskiy is keenly aware that something is rotten in the state of Putin, and Mestetskiy’s brand of addled anarchic absurdism may indeed be the only sane response to unchecked kleptocracy. It is a pity that the group’s most disruptive challenge proves to be a thinly-drawn female influence. It is a similar impulse to the ideologically similar “Fight Club”, where illogical statements — “We’re a generation of men raised by women; I’m just wondering if another woman is what we really need” — collapse under even modest scrutiny. “Rag Union” can, however, claim adolescence as something of a get-out clause: None of these characters is supposed to be a fully formed human beings yet, and the lion’s share of the blame for their stunted prospects is laid at the door not of the convenient female scapegoat, but of the state.  – Catherine Bray, Variety