A filmmaker finds creative freedom far more elusive than he imagined in this affectionately ironic comedy/drama from Festival favorite Otar Iosseliani (Brigands, Chapter VII, SFIFF 1997; Gardens in Autumn, SFIFF 2007). Set in the late 1950s, it's the story of Niko (Dato Tarielashvili), a stubborn young director with talent and drive. Tired of the state-appointed producers and censorship in his homeland, Soviet Georgia, he moves to France hoping for better opportunities. After surviving with mundane jobs (street sweeper, zookeeper), he finally makes contact with a French producer. But nothing is easier; he has merely traded one type of creative interference for another. The titular Russian expression is used to refer to artists who resisted the regime and left the country, but has come to mean good-for-nothing. Inspired in part by the filmmaker's own experience, this is a wry and charming satire and wonderfully typical of Iosseliani's thoughtful, knowing oeuvre.

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