Natasha Merkulova, Aleksey Chupov

Russia, Estonia, France, 2018 / 105 min / Russian OV with English subt. (RU OV with EN subt.) / Drama

The directors, Aleksey Chupov and Natalya Merkulova, and producer, Katia Filipova, will be in attendence

A man dying of cancer in a poor Siberian village risks everything for a last-ditch cure.

Egor  is a fearless state forest guard in the Siberian Taiga. He is a good family man, respected by his fellow villagers, and his wife Natalia is pregnant with their second child. But one day Egor finds out he has cancer and only two months left to live. No traditional medicine or shamanic magic can save him. Left with no other option and inspired by the hero of a legendary Siberian epos who tricked the Grim Reaper by donning a disguise, Egor puts on a short, red dress, tights, black boots, black eye-liner and red lipstick, and changes his identity to that of a woman – much to the horror of his family and the rest of the village.

“The story is about how a person who is used to keep everything in his life under control suddenly faces an uncontrollable situation – a fatal disease. In this situation, he makes an unusual choice – to release control. However, losing control is a dangerous step if you live in a society with a communal way of life. Imminently there is a clash of individual choice and collective norms.” Director’s statement by Natasha Merkulova


Fri 08/03 18:30 Cinémathèque RU OV with EN subt. Public
Sat 09/03 21:00 Ciné Utopia RU OV with EN subt. Public
Mon 11/03 21:00 Ciné Utopia RU OV with EN subt. Public

“Equal parts delightful, horrifying and thought-provoking, reaching deep into the characters’ psyches to expose their ingrained sexual prejudices.” Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter, 3/10/2018

“Half playfully, half seriously, Merkulova and Chupov construct the tale of the Man Who Surprised Everyone into a story that merges folklore and local humour with contemporary politics.” Tina Poglajen, Cineuropa, 10/09/2018

  • Orizzonti Award – Best Actress for Natalya Kudryashova, Venice Film Festival, 2018 (Italy)
  • Special Mention – Feature Narrative Competition, El Gouna International Film Festival, 2018 (Egypt)
  • Best Film, Honfleur Russian Film Festival, 2018 (France)
  • Erasmus+ Jury Prize, Bordeaux Independent International Film Festival, 2018 (France)
  • Crouching Tiger Audience Award, Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival, 2018 (China)
Cast & Credits
Evgeniy Tsyganov, Natalya Kudryashova, Yuriy Kuznetsov, Vasiliy Popov, Pavel Maykov, Aleksey Filimonov, Elena Voronchikhina, Maksim Vitorgan
Natasha Merkulova, Aleksey Chupov
Mart Taniel
Vladimir Pryamov, Aleksandr Fedenyov, Stas Kreckov
Sergey Avstrievskikh
Andrey Kurchenko
Pan-Atlantic Studio
Homeless Bob Production, Non-Stop Production, Arizona Productions
Pluto Film

Natasha Merkulova was born in 1979 in Orenburg, Russia. She graduated from Irkutsk University and the High Courses for Scriptwriters and Film Directors of Moscow. She worked as a presenter on Irkutsk television. Her debut feature film, Intimate Parts (2013), was critically acclaimed and gained over 30 awards and nominations at various Russian and international film festivals.

Alexey Chupov was born in 1973 in Moscow. He graduated from Moscow State University and studied Film History at Wake Forest University in the US. He began his career as a TV journalist. Together with his wife, Natasha Merkulova, he wrote and directed their critically acclaimed debut, Intimate Parts in 2013.

  • Natalya Merkulova
  • 2018 – Tchelovek kotorij udivil vseh
  • 2017 – Pro lyubov. Tolko dlya vzroslykh (segment in a shorts anthology)
  • 2016 – Krizis nezhnogo vozrasta (8 episodes of the TV series)
  • 2016 – Sestry (short)
  • 2015 – Lestnitsa Rodchenko (short)
  • 2013 – Intimnyye mesta
  • 2013 – Substantsiya: Moloko (short)
  • 2012 – Substantsiya: Varene (short)
  • 2008 – Travmatizm (documentary short)
  • Aleksey Chupov
  • 2018 – Tchelovek kotorij udivil vseh
  • 2017 – Pro lyubov. Tolko dlya vzroslykh (segment in a shorts anthology)
  • 2016 – Krizis nezhnogo vozrasta (8 episodes of the TV series)
  • 2013 – Intimnyye mesta