The very first sights and sounds of the light-yet-mysterious Stroll through the classical and modern in everyday life of people and objects in contemporary St. Petersburg, gives us already a more than reasonable hint of what is to follow: symbolically, we see the old facades reflected in a window as a car is passing by. We hear the sound of the heated dialogue inside. So, the setting is ready. In the following moments, the ringing of a mobile phone which is soon to become the leit motif of the picture, breaks the floating images of the City into pieces. Here comes the heroine. And, one by one, two heroes. As soon as they step into the story, the restless camera grabs them, unwilling to ever let go. Then and there, surrounded by the precise and amusing excerpts of the big zeitgeist novel as Alexej Utchitjel sees it, these three young people will take it all “for real”: naivety and “joie de vivre” as well as jealousy and suffering. After the bitter but playful ending, this post-postmodern take on the eternal “two boys and a girl” plot leaves us in the state of multiple uncertainty. What is well-thought and neatly planned, and what is real-life, the spontaneous outcome of the actual encounter of these three young people? Who’s the seducer and who the seduced? Can you play act and still be true? Whose is the ultimate desperation?
Quick, hysterical camera movements make the most of these dilemmas, leaving the film structure staggering constantly between the seemingly lighthearted retro memories (from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Jules and Jim) and the recurring hint of real mental troubles, likely to leave a mark on anyone around. Fake documentary appearance, fake “real-time” sequences and the fake impression of the highly-improvised movie, actually display the highest degree of craftmanship, when succeeding in provoking the real emotions of the spectator, making him an unwilling deep diver into this world of seemingly careless strolling, where things are logical and impossible at the same time. And all that matters is to keep walking.
© FIPRESCI 2003