The wise fool

65-the-fool Film: The Fool (Russian, 2014)

Dima Nikitin, a plumber, tries to warn the authorities that a building in an unnamed Russian town is about to collapse because of a huge crack in the wall. The mayor and other officials are unwilling to act on it, because an evacuation will lead to a financial review which could expose their corrupt dealings. They go into a huddle even as a desperate Nikitin does all he can to avert the catastrophe and save the residents who are unmindful of the fate awaiting them.

Yuri Bykov, the director, paints a world that is amoral and selfish. The pertinent question that many of those in power ask is this: are the people in the building even worth saving? Juxtaposed with this worldview is Nikitin—a Prince Myshkin-like figure, whose altruism seems to know no bounds. He is the only hope in a world dominated by duplicity and deception.

The Fool, which was screened at various international festivals and won several awards, including the best actor award at Locarno International Film Festival, is a scathing indictment of a society that is plagued by apathy and all-pervasive corruption. A literal and figurative portrait of people who face an unpredictable future under a corrupt system, The Fool is a fine example of perfectly-crafted social commentary.