Pros: performance in the squat yard; peaceful coexistence between an elderly squat inhabitant and a hip-hop party. Cons: transformation of the main character and her internal conflict; dialogues; naivety and banality of the entire film “Squat32” / Squat32
Director Alexander Lidagovsky
Starring Anna Adamovich (Liza), Alexander Bogachuk (Sasha), Rimaida Onadska (Faina), Sandra Sambo (Sandra), etc.
Companies Garnet International Media Group
Year of release 2019
The main character of the film, the girl Lisa, feels tired from work and the gray reality that surrounds her. She remembers her hobby – film photography – and goes to an abandoned house to take a couple of interesting shots. As it turns out, there are residents there who go to all sorts of tricks to prevent developers from demolishing the old building. Lisa runs into their leader Sasha, and he becomes her guide to the squat. The stranger shows his friends – some of them draw graffiti, some dance, and some rap. Also living in the house with young people is an elderly woman who likes the atmosphere of free creativity. While Lisa gets used to her new acquaintances, the struggle for the squat continues.
The creators of the film conceived “Squat32” as a film about modern Ukrainian youth who are in search of themselves and their place in the crazy rhythm of the metropolis. They selected a suitable location, actors and even break dancers. But they forgot about the most important thing – whether the audience would be interested in such a movie.
I absolutely don’t want to drown the initiative and condemn attempts to create a Ukrainian film product, which is already quite small. It is clear that at first there is no point in waiting for the ideal, much less comparing the result with honed Hollywood skills. But you shouldn’t praise failed films, even if they became pioneers (in the case of Squat32, this is an attempt to reach a young audience with certain interests).
The problems of the film “Squat32” begin at the level of the script, which leaves a large number of gaps and unsolved storylines. For example, in an abandoned house there lives a mysterious guy who covers his body with inscriptions. The reasons why his work is expressed in this way and why he behaves aloofly, we are not destined to know. Although he, in fact, acts as the main negative character, whose story could still be told.
Almost all screen time is devoted to the main character Lisa. She differs from the other inhabitants of the squat in her ordinariness. This should change under the influence of new friends, but the changes of the main character are the most awkward and unnatural process in the world. A change of style helps her fit into the company (a false red lock of hair is a symbol of the fact that the filmmakers do not seem to be doing everything seriously). The way the stylists transform Lisa calls into question her stay in the hip-hop crowd. In fact, the secondary characters seem much more natural and interesting than the heroines, but these guys are not given enough space to open up.
The more the personality of the indecisive Lisa develops, the less she believes in what is happening. Especially when an offer for her dream job appears on the horizon – from that moment on, everything slides into unremitting banality that you want to stop. No less ordinary is the relationship between the heroine and the squat leader, who fall in love with each other at first sight.
There is also an attempt in the film to ironize the life of the capital, where city deputies present pensioners with buckwheat and organize the illegal construction of new buildings. It’s a long way from successful social satire, but debutant director Alexander Lidagovsky at least tried. Also in the Squat32 feed, other pressing problems of the country are mentioned in passing – it turns out very vague and unsaid.
One of the good things about the film “Squat32” is the performance scene in the courtyard of an abandoned house. It resembles a real-life contemporary art festival experimenting with different visualization formats. An elderly resident of the house, peacefully neighboring with young people, also looks touching in the frame. As for other episodes, it’s all facepalming.
No matter how much I would like to support new Ukrainian cinema, it is difficult to praise Squat32. Yes, and watch too.