Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Day of Love (1991) Aleksandr Polynnikov
Russia is not known for its exploitation cinema. I guess back in Soviet times exploitation movies were considered bourgeois affectation, counter revolutionary or somesuch, and post Soviet era I guess very little got exported. Day of Love is quite the rarity then, never officially seen outside of Russia and only recently available via fan subbed bootlegs. It deserves more, although not exactly a classic it stands as a fine throwback to the 70's, with a splendid second half. The plot is terrific, Moscow crims plan a large scale stolen truck deal but need a diversion for the cops, so they enlist a pack of youth scumbags to go on a rape spree. But when someone rapes young beauty queen Cristina, the lot of them are in for a bad time. Unfortunately the sexual violence is almost entirely off screen, the handful of attacks show some nudity (thank f#ck) but it's mostly a top ripped off, a panty sliced off there and whoosh!, to the next victim. The film really comes alive with the vengeance portion though, Cristina's stepdad does not take kindly to her rape and so along with her beau sets out to put things to rights, leading to an indecently rousing showdown in a factory. While as a rule revenge sequences in films that don't show much of the crimes are moronic at best (like the dreadful Last House on the Left remake), Day of Love scores on ingenuity, and vigilante satisfaction is adeptly balanced out with a downbeat and cynical two punch cap off. Perfectly 1970's really. For substance there's a subsurface conflict of past and present. The gangsters are dealing in sturdy old school equipment, but hire newfangled young punks, young Cristina is a modern lass who wants to go abroad, and her boyfriend is an older man and foreigner, in town to sort out the computer systems his company has sold to automate a car factory. So there's an interesting feel of a country in transition working out its contradictions that comes together nicely in the end. The acting and characterisations are above average for this sort of film, nothing too special but all the mains are drawn and played well enough to stand out. So it all holds together pretty well (I enjoyed it cold sober), and the final block is really pretty ripsnorting. Definitely worth a watch for fans of this sort of thing, a solid entry from a time when old school exploitation was on the way out.