40' 1995 UK director: Paweł Pawlikowski cinematography: Bogdan Dziworski editing: Agnieszka Bojanowska production: BBC
Two years after Serbian Epics, with Radovan Karadžić as the main character, Paweł Pawlikowski again portrays an extremely controversial politician. This time it’s the Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Tripping with Zhirinovsky evokes associations with Marek Piwowski’s legendary film The Cruise for a reason. We see Zhirinovsky on a cruise ship on the Volga surrounded by some two hundred supporters, and also in New York, where he arouses considerable media interest. At the editing stage, Pawlikowski decided to keep primarily those scenes that make the viewer laugh, thus making it clear that the film’s atmosphere is that of an absurd comedy. However, this leaves the viewer with a nagging question: To what extent are Zhirinovsky and similar politicians really dangerous? This question sounds even more serious today, nearly a quarter of a century later.