Pyotr Lutsik, Russia, 1998
Harsh, terrifying and darkly comedic, Outskirts is a film that lives in the tension between the impossible, unexpected present and the recently mythic past. Set in Russia after the fall of communism, a group of peasants from the Ural steppe—perfect stereotypes of high Soviet propaganda films of the 30s—set out on a vendetta against the forces that bought their collective farm out from under them. Employing a liberal dose of torture that Stalin’s KGB could only dream of, their (consistently goofy) trail of violence leads them all the way from the outskirts of the former empire to its heart in Moscow. With a lens both nostalgic and satiric, the film is draped in a patina of alienating Socialist Realist aesthetic that lays bare the contradictions of the new Russia, and the loss of previously binding social myths.