414. There Lived Kozyavin – Andrey Khrzhanovsky

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SUMMARY: Asked to go and fetch a fellow employee and pointed in the vague direction that his boss thinks he may be located, an office employee walks all the way around the world in a straight line in an attempt to comply.

WHY IT’S HERE: Russian director Andrey Khrzhanovskiy’s ‘There Lived Kozyavin’ is a simple but brilliant satire on conformity and the soul-deadening experience of working for a faceless, exploitative employer. It brings to mind the civil servants of Gogol’s surrealist short stories, with which it shares an absurdist, grotesque sense of humour. Following Kozyavin on his trip around the world as he searches calmly and blankly for a colleague he will blatantly never find after the first few minutes of searching, ‘There Lived Kozyavin’ features brilliant artwork which foreshadows similar designs by Bill Plympton decades later. The characters are eerily, aptly expressionless and drift aimlessly through their seemingly empty existences with a haunting acceptance. As indictments of the conformist 9 to 5 existence go, ‘There Lived Kozyavin’ ranks among the most memorable.

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