Game of Truth
Three friends from university catch up some 20 years after graduation to reminisce about halcyon days gone by. Mark the cocky businessman, Gannadi the drab and depressed car salesman and Anatoli a washed up physicist meet in an apartment for what appears to be a standard semi-regular get-together. Banter, laughter and bickering ensue while drinks are consumed at a merry rate. All seems well – if not a little sad - until it is revealed that another guest has been invited on this occasion.
Maya, the girl of their dreams and one they obsessed over during their days at university is back after having lost contact with them many years ago. Emotions run high and near breaking point as the three men argue over who had the greater connection with her. In an attempt to bring stability Anatoli suggests a game of truth that only serves to create more tension amongst the group.
Based on a play of the same name Game of Truth is, like many stage plays, focused on one location. As such the filmmakers were tasked with making the location of Anatloli’s apartment as dynamic as possible for the screen. The production design compliments the characters and the ebb and flow of their emotions throughout the film. This provides an entertaining and unique cinema experience. The apartment is filled with colourful kitschy furniture and appliances set against faded, paint peeled walls and worn wooden doors. The whole place oozes nostalgia and hints of happier, more abundant times while acknowledging forgotten dreams and broken promises. Each room of the cosy but cramped apartment tells its own story and plays a central role in the performances of each character. The kitchen is a chaotic hive of activity as the men dance around each other one trying to prepare food, another pouring drinks and no one accomplishing either task very successfully. The dining room is set neatly and tranquilly until it is bombarded with the group’s boisterous and humorous conversations. The balcony provides an escape from the jibes and challenges from inside. Lights from inside the apartment as well as natural light also play a clear and integral role in the film. As a twist is revealed it becomes obvious that the day is drawing to a close and the apartment takes on a much more serious atmosphere. At one point when the conversation threatens to bring the friends to breaking point a thunderstorm rolls in. The same goes for moments of joy - a warm lamp illuminating faces - and laughter – sun streaming through the window.
All these elements bring together a well cast comedy that is energising, heart-warming and even cute at times. Again, perhaps typical of a stage plays, the dialogue is second to none. Lines come thick and fast leaving next to no time for exaggerated cinematic long shots or pensive emotionless faces (sorry cinematographers!). But it does what all good dialogue does, it holds your attention and entertains you for the entire film.
Duration: 90mins Director: Viktor Shamirov Cast: Irina Apeksimova, Gosha Kutsenko, Konstantin Ushekevich, Dmitry Marianov