The Fool

Russia, 2014
dir. Yuri Bykov

Bykov’s tightly wrought film tells the story of Dima Nikitin (Artem Bystrov), a simple plumber and housing maintenance foreman. One night, Nikitin is called out on what appears to be a standard emergency call to a local social housing estate to fix some broken plumbing. Once there, Nikitin discovers to his horror that the danger reaches far beyond some burst pipes. The building’s foundation has slowly been shifting, meaning that, according to Nikitin’s calculations, the entire building will collapse in a matter of hours, putting at mortal risk the building’s 800-plus population of social outcasts, alcoholics, impoverished pensioners and young, disaffected junkies. The urgency of the situation is further accentuated by the fact that the entire story takes place over one night, in a race against time, as Nikitin works tirelessly and single-handedly to avoid a disaster that seems only to perturb him.

Set in an unnamed, provincial Russian town, The Fool is a tragic and moving story of one man’s stand against a society that has gone astray.

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