Saturday, July 17, 2010

Moscow on the Hudson (1984)


Stars :Robin Williams, Maria Conchita Alonso, Elya Baskin, Alejandro Ray, Saveli Kramarov.

Director : Paul Mazursky.

Written by : Paul Mazursky & Leon Capetanos.

Moscow on the Hudson a very interesting name and the first time heard it I was very much intrigued by it. The presence of Robin Williams was an added attraction to make me eager for watching it.

Vladimir Ivanov ( Robin Williams ) a saxophone player with Moscow Circus gets a chance to perform in New York with his circus troupe. One of the troupe members Anatoly ( Elya Baskin ) a clown with the troupe wants to defect but has been unsuccessful on his previous attempts because of two KGB agents Boris (Saveli Kramarov ) and his partner sent with the troupe to prevent anyone from defecting. On the last day of tour in Bloomingdales Anatoly tries to defect but isn't able to do so but Ivanov out of nowhere just decides to do so and is successful in his attempt with the help of a sales girl , the security guard and the police. Moscow on the Hudson is the story of Ivanov's first rendezvous with his freedom and New York. His journey from being a defector to a  free man. He starts a relationship with  the sales girl Lucia ( Maria Conchita Alonso ) an Italian immigrant who had helped him at Bloomingdales. He gets to work as a busboy , hot dog vendor and experiences all that New York had to offer happiness, freedom , friends, love and the ugly side of the city too when he gets mugged. As he goes through a breakup with Maria he starts questioning his decision to defect, his new found freedom and himself. But New York true to its name of being city of dreams which embraces everyone , slowly it embraces Ivanov and more important Ivanov embraces the city.

The movie I felt wasn't just Ivanov's story, it was story of every immigrant around the world. Everyone who had left his or her country in search of greener pastures must have been through almost the same experience as our main protagonist. The movie spoke to everyone and whats more touching and humanizing about the movie is that its never goes over the top and always keeps the emotions real. The first 20 - 25 mins the only language spoken is Russian, which actually adds to its charm and innocence.

Robin Williams as Vladimir Ivanov is brilliant. This is one performance where the stand up Robin was absent and I got to see the actor Robin Williams. His expressions were brilliant through out , whether its the struggling but contended Russian, the innocent  amazed kid like Ivanov on the city tour of New York or frightened immigrant trying to defect. I felt the whole sequence of his attempt to defect is brilliantly written ,shot and acted. The expressions on Robin's face and his performance is brilliant in this sequence. The supporting cast played a big hand in making the movie a truly delightful experience. Specially Saveli as the Russian agent accompanying the troupe is totaly a class act, Antoly played by Elya Baskin and Maria Conchita as Lucia, Ivanovs love interest are just brilliant. For me it was one of the best performance by an ensemble cast.

I have to give some credit to the writer Paul Mazursky and Leon Capetanos who came up with a simple , realistic and brilliant script. They took up a global phenomena and made it into a beautiful script. I give Paul Mazursky credit for dealing exceptionally well with a sensitive subject , touching a lot of people and yet keeping the lighter side of it intact. The movie has some really funny moments that aren't created by antics of the artists but evolve though the script.

A beautiful movie, exceptional performances and a delightful experience that will make you laugh and yet touch you in a very humane way.


Plus : Excellent script , brilliant performance from every actor.

Minus : There isn't any.

Rating : 9/10

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