The Fool

Brilliantly shot, this Russian drama addresses the subject of corruption in contemporary provincial life. An idealistic young plumber goes to inspect a broken pipe in a building of his housing complex and discovers that the building stands on the verge of collapse. He spends the rest of the night trying to convince local officials to evacuate the tower, only to find that they’re more concerned with protecting their reputations than with the people they’re supposed to serve. The performances are uniformly strong, and writer-director Yury Bykov achieves an immersive, starkly realistic atmosphere. Yet the translated dialogue can be punishingly literal, as the officials reflect on how corrupt they are and the hero bemoans his situation of being a moral person in an immoral society. In Russian with subtitles.