Gorko!

Gorko! (Горько!) is a 2013 Russian comedy. It is filmed as if it were a wedding video made by a young wedding guest. It is about engaged couple Natasha and Roma, who decide to have two wedding parties in an attempt to make everyone happy—one for their parents and relatives, in a traditional setting at a restaurant, and the other for their friends according to their own wishes, on the banks of the Black Sea. But in a twist of fate, the two parties end up uniting.

The title literally translates to “Bitter!” and is part of Russian wedding traditions. Guests call out “Gorko!,” the bride and groom then must kiss and the guests drink a toast to the two. The exact origins of the traditions are debated. For more information, click here. In English, the film was marketed as Kiss Them All!

The film received some high praise from critics and the usual average reviews from Russian audiences seem to reserve for Russian domestic films. Film.ru called it “one of the best Russian comedies in recent years,” and also gave it the surprising praise of calling it a “national” (or “folk”) film, saying that it aroused patriotism and love for one’s country almost to the same extent as the very popular sports biopic Legend No. 17 (Легенда №17). Even the online journal Snob (Сноб), with its high-culture leanings, praised the film, saying that it was different from other “folk comedies” because it was “smart, honest, and talented.”

It also, despite lackluster audience reviews, became the most profitable Russian film in Russian film history at the time—with a box office take of more than $25 million—and was nominated for an enormous number of prizes, including two Nikas (it won one—breakthrough of the year, for the director, Zhora Kryzhovnikov) and nine Golden Eagles. It was also in the running to be Russia’s entry for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards, but as it was going up against Leviathan (Левиафан), it was facing a losing battle.

A sequel, Gorko! 2 (Горько! 2), was released in 2014.

Find Gorko! (Kiss Them All!) on Amazon

 

Director: Zhora Kryzhovnikov
Stars: Yulia Aleksandrova, Yegor Koreshkov, Yan Tsapnik, Yelena Valyushkina, Yulia Sules
Production company: Bazelevs Productions, Kinokompania Lunapark
Box office take: $25.5 million

Official trailer:

Gorko!

Find Gorko! (Kiss Them All!) on Amazon

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.