I was a bit afraid after reading the plot (DJ girl wants to move to US from post-soviet Belorussia at any price) that Chrystal would be a movie made for Western viewers using the Soviet setting just as an exotica, but luckily, this was mostly not the case (the Lenin statues in a disco scene being a rare exception). The movie captures the classical mood of Eastern Europe - people longing to "the West" - in a credible way, probably because Belorussians, despite living as close to Berlin as to Moscow find it still very hard to move freely to the West (I was even a bit surprised that the officials felt comfortable enough with the movie to send it to the Academy Awards). It is somehow part of this mood that the movie could both qualify for a tragedy and a comedy: you may smile on the odd characters and small talks but it's very hard to find any character who is not having deep troubles. The makers of the movie seem to sympathize with most of them... I think even the motives of the guy who acts badly (try to avid spoilers here, sorry) are clear to everyone... no-one is pure evil nor an angel here. I'm curious how this movie works for audiences in the US or Western Europe... for Eastern and Central Europeans (and fans of the region) it's well recommended.
In 1990s Belarus, a wanderlust young DJ is derailed by a typo in a forged US Visa application, forcing her to a backwater village where she is determined to fake her way to the American dream.
January 12, 2021