DukhLess / ДухLess

Published: June 21, 2016

DukhLess (ДухLess; “Soulless”) is a Russian psychological drama released in 2012. It is based on the novel Soulless: Story of an Unreal Person (Дyxless. Повесть о ненастоящем человеке) by Sergey Minaev. The book was widely read in Russia and internationally, and producer Pyotr Anurov was interested early on in turning it into a film. The film is not a faithful interpretation of the book—many changes were made to the plot and characters. The screenwriters tried to make the film more current, since the book came out in 2006 and much had changed in Russia in six years. They also chose to give the film a more positive final message than the book had had.

The film is about a manager of an international bank, twenty-nine-year-old Max, who spends all his time making money, going to fancy parties, and doing cocaine in nightclubs with attractive women. Eventually he realizes that he’s missing something in life. He befriends a university student named Yulia, who’s active in a group called the Free Radicals, to try to change his life.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta called the film “one of the most anticipated films of the year.” It was extremely popular with audiences when it was first released in theaters, but critics had varied reactions to it. However, it was nominated for five Golden Eagles, including best film, best director, and best male actor.

For its international release, it was released with the Russian-English mixed title intact: as DukhLess (instead of “SoulLess). The film has a sequel, DukhLess 2, released in 2015.


Director: Roman Prygunov
Stars: Danila Kozlovskiy, Maria Andreeva, Artyom Mikhalkov, Nikita Panfilov, Artur Smol’yaninov, Mikhail Efremov, Maria Kozhevnikova
Production company: Kinoslovo
Box office take: $14.6 million

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Official trailer:

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About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied 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.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

View all posts by: Julie Hersh