BetrayalOriginal Title: Izmena
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
Russia | Russian
Subtitles: Arabic and English
is a dark tale of love, passion and most of all adultery featuring an impressive performance
by German star Franziska Petri. During a routine cardiac test a man (Dejan Lilic) is casually informed by his medical examiner (Petri) that her husband is cheating on her with the man’s wife. The news obviously sets his heartbeat racing. His subsequent investigations prove her right. What unfolds is a harsh chronicle of both the lustful and harmful ramifications of following one’s sexual instincts. The betrayed man and woman are inevitably drawn to each other and become partners in crime themselves – life comes a full circle and the betrayed have become the betrayers themselves.
Director Kirill Serebrennikov comes from a theatre background but proved his cinematographic
talent with Playing the Victim
, his 2006 adaptation of Hamlet. Here, through his effective use of atmosphere he builds a universe from which there seems to be no escape. The betrayed spouses remain deliberately unnamed and have to survive against an unspecified
yet clearly post-Soviet backdrop. Furthermore the story is stripped of the run-of-the-mill supporting characters common to mainstream films who offer relief by setting common moral standards. The chronicle’s relentless tone is further heightened by its repeated use of visual distortions and reflections, thus creating both a mental and physical world in which the protoganists are isolated within their own perspectives. They become the core impersonation of universal ethical questions. Serebrennikov’s answer to these is the film itself.
–Miryam van Lier