The Rider Named Death

Directed by Karen Shakhnazarov

Year: 2004
Running Time: 106
Color Type: Color and B&W
Aspect Ratio: 1:1.33
Country: Russia
Language: Russian w/English subt. [audio]
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The Rider Named Death

Cast
Kseniya Rappoport
Rostislav Bershauer
Artyom Semakin
Andrei Panin

Crew
Composed by Anatoly Kroll
Directed by Karen Shakhnazarov


In "an exquisitely recreated Moscow of nearly a century ago" (The New York Times), steely, elegant Georges (Andrei Panin) leads a DIY underground death squad carrying out fanatical attacks on Russia's fragile Czarist regime. Based on The Pale Horse, real life socialist agitator Boris Savinkov"s autobiographical novel, The Rider Named Death reveals the web of desperation, desire and duplicity that holds terrorists of any era together.

Vanya (Artyom Semakin), a wide-eyed student provoked by principle, Fyodor (Rostislav Bershauer), a savage nihilist inspired by chaos, and Erna (Kseniya Rappoport), an explosives expert driven by her passionate obsession with Georges, are the human faces of Georges" secret band of turn-of-the-century bomb-throwing revolutionaries. As their repeated attempts on Grand Duke Aleksandrovich's life fail, each member of the group fights to stay alive while grappling with doubt and strife from within. But the personal vacuum that has driven Georges to an extremist fringe outside of society may prove to be his most potent weapon. Mired in a romantic limbo between Erna and the beautiful married aristocrat he loves, and torn between dissolute apathy and a desire to destroy, Georges must find both a way and a reason to finish the impossible job he's started.

"Opulent and impressive" (New York Daily News), The Rider Named Death is a perceptive journey through the tangled personal motives behind a single terrorist cause. Karen Shakhnazarov's (Jazzman, City Zero) The Rider Named Death "contemplates the chilling seductions of 20th century violence" (The Village Voice) and poses questions about the morality of terror that are as relevant as today's headlines.

Reviews

"A rough-hewn Russian epic...contemplates the chilling seductions of 20th century violence." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

"Excellent performances...stunning production design." - Raven Snook, Time Out

"Opulent and impressive." - Elizabeth Wietzman, New York Daily News

"If you like your anti-heroes tall, pale and existential, you won't do better than Georges, the anti-Czarist assassin at the heart of Karen Shakhnazarov's historical drama The Rider Named Death." - Dana Stevens, The New York Times

"Exquisite, gorgeous...sumptous set pieces" - Ronnie Scheib, Variety



Awards

  • OFFICIAL SELECTION MONTREAL, HAVANA, SHANGHAI FILM FESTIVALS.

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