The Bottomless Bag

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Russia | 2017 | 104 minutes | Rustam Khamdamov

Adapting the 1922 Japanese short story "In a Grove", the basis for Kurosawa's Rashomon, for a medieval Russian setting, The Bottomless Bag spins an enchanting tale of intrigue, doubt and mysticism in and around the Czar's court.

"This Russian film adapts the same short story that inspired Kurosawa's classic, In a Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, but to a very different end." Sean Nelson - The Stranger

Enter into a shimmering black and white fairytale world of riches in the palace of the Czar of Russia. There, a lady-in-waiting tells a metaphysical fairytale, set in the medieval 13th century and revolving around the mysterious murder of the Czar's son and the disappearance of the princess. But the lady-in-waiting is only one narrator, as the fable's characters are witnesses to the crime and narrate different versions of the events. The Bottomless Bag is the Russian version of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950) and is based on Ryunosuke Akutagawa's short story, "In a Grove." Instead of Japan, director Rustam Khamdamov sets his story of doubt in Russia in a world of forests, soldiers, thieves, and royalty. With Khamdamov, the plot is less important than the visual environment, which is meticulously full of rich fabrics, costumes, and lush landscapes—the palace scenes are shot on location in an abandoned palace on the banks of St. Petersburg's Neva River. Winner of the Silver St. George Prize and the Russian Film Critics Award at the 2017 Moscow International Film Festival, The Bottomless Bag revels in a sumptuous quality that returns us to the aesthetics of the silent film era.

Director Biography
Rustam Khamdamov (Tashkent, 1944) is a Russian fim director, screenwriter and artst, who has created an original, metaphorical and visual fim language. He graduated from the directors' faculty at The All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in 1969 (Grigory Chukhrai's workshop). Winner of the Triumph prize in 1996 and of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation award. Khamdamov's work can be seen at the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Hermitage, the Natonai Museum of Ravenna (Italy) and in private collectons. He is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts.

Sponsored by Boulart Bread, The Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies at UW

  • Original Language Title: Meshok Bez Dna
  • Director: Rustam Khamdamov
  • Principal Cast: Svetlana Nemolyaeva, Alla Demidova, Sergey Koltakov, Elena Morozova, Kirill Pletnev
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Russia
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 104 minutes
  • Producer: Rustam Khamdamov, Lubov Obminyanaya, Tikhon Pendyurin
  • Screenplay: Rustam Khamdamov
  • Cinematographers: Pyotr Dukhovskoy, Timofey Lobov
  • Editors: Irina Ochina
  • Music: Dmitry Kurlyandsky
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Moscow International Film Festival 2017 (Russian Film Critics Award, Silver St. George Prize)
  • Filmography: Vocal Parallels (2006); Anna Karamazoff (1991)
  • Language: Russian, French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Reflexion Films