Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky has an insanely varied resume. Monika Bartyzel wrote about his dream project recently, a musical version of a story that inspired a famous ballet. Nutcracker: The Untold Story, starring Nathan Lane and John Turturro, began production in July. Konchalovsky's directing career dates back to 1961, but he will always hold a place in my heart for two films from the 1980's: the brutal, ice-bound thriller Runaway Train and the "so ridiculous you have to sit back and laugh at its foolish audacity and senseless action" Tango and Cash.

Even Konchalovsky has limits, though; Variety'sdismissive review noted that he quit in a dispute over the ending and Albert Magnoli handled the last two weeks of filming. In recent times he has concentrated on more polite fare, which is why his vision of a CGI-enhanced Nutcracker Suite has me intrigued.

The 70-year-old director's latest film, Gloss, was released in Russia on August 23. It's described as a satirical look at the fashion industry in which a young seamstress (Yulia Vysotskaya) from a coal-mining town comes to Moscow with dreams of becoming a supermodel. Comparisons might be made to Robert Altman's Ready to Wear or Denys Arcand's Stardom, but please don't mention that Meryl Streep movie about a fashion magazine. Yevgeny Stepanov, one of the Gloss producers, reportedly said Konchalovsky's work "is art. The Devil Wears Prada is McDonald's."

The director has his own strong views. "People who live a fashionable life as a rule aren't happy, because they're not satisfied with their personal life," Konchalovsky told The Moscow Times in a recent interview. "I think that when a person is absolutely satisfied, genuinely happy, there's a desire to be at home." No word yet on distribution outside of Russia, but we'll let you know if we hear something.
categories Cinematical