Груз 200

Cargo 200 (Груз 200) is a 2007 Russian thriller based on a true story. It was written and directed by Sergey Balabanov (Сергей Балабанов, who is most famous for the Brother (Брат) films.

Cargo 200 takes place mainly in two villages, Nizhniy Volok and Leninsk, with some later action occurring in St. Petersburg, in 1984. One of the major themes of the film is the way of life in the Russian provinces, with alcoholism taking a lead role. The main action revolves around the daughter of the regional party secretary, who disappears one night after attending a nightclub. An all-out effort is made to figure out what exactly has happened. At the same time, the film revolves around news of the Soviet–Afghan War, which is at its height—the title of the film refers to the transport of killed soldiers back to the Soviet Union—and the residents of the small towns who gave their lives in the war.

The film got slightly better reviews than average, particularly from critics; audiences were less sold, perhaps because of extreme violence depicted made many viewers uncomfortable. It did win a major award from the Kinotavr Film Festival, and Aleksey Poluyan (Алексей Полуян), who played Zhurov, the police captain, was nominated for Best Villain at the MTV Russia Film Awards. (Interestingly, several quite well-known Russian actors were approached for the role of Zhurov, but declined after reading the screenplay.) The film was also nominated for several Nika Awards. Yet one hard-boiled reviewer compared the film to the type of “propagandistic films that are mainly filmed in totalitarian countries.”

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Director: Sergey Balabanov
Stars: Agniya Kuznetsova, Aleksey Poluyan, Leonid Gromov, Aleksey Serebryakov, Leonid Bichevin
Production company: Kinokompaniya STV
Box office take: $570,000

Official trailer:

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Груз 200

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.