PRODS Leonid Ogaryov, Angelina Nikonova, Olga Dykhovichnaya
SCR Olga Dykhovichnaya, Angelina Nikonova
CAM Eben Bull
ED Elena Afanasyeva
PROD DES Oleg Fedikhin
PROD CO Baraban Films
Completely uncompromising and fiercely provocative, Angelina Nikonova’s enthralling first feature offers a unique feminist perspective on the rampant corruption and callousness in modern day Russia. In an utterly fearless lead performance, Olga Dykhovichnaya stars as Marina, a woman caught in both a loveless marriage and a passionless affair. A thankless and fruitless job as a social worker only furthers her disenchantment. But when she’s raped by three predatory police officers, Marina is transformed into a nocturnal creature drawn to depravity. In short order, she hunts down one of her attackers and takes him as a lover.
Amid the dingy milieu conjured by Nikonova, Dykhovichnaya—who also co-wrote the script—is absolutely incandescent. You won’t soon forget a jaw-dropping birthday party scene in which Marina raises vitriolic toasts to her husband, lover and best friend, letting each of them know precisely how little she thinks of them. And while Nikonova’s assessment of her homeland and countrymen might be slightly more opaque, it’s no less shocking.
"The implications of the film’s concluding moments, though, are left wide open in deeply unsettling ways… [Nikonova] refuses to offer any easy answers, trusting her audience to draw their own conclusions and make of it all what they will. Twilight Portrait… is ultimately haunting in its ambiguities. You may not like or even understand everything you see, but for better or worse, you certainly won’t forget it."—Kenji Fujishima, Slant