A Visitor to a Museum

A Visitor to a Museum ★★★★

In a dystopian future ravaged by pollution, the Earth and Ocean have been poisoned by toxic chemical waste causing mutations among humans. These undesirables are herded and segregated into reservations. A man from the city visits one of the bleakest outer regions of Russia with an express desire to see the 'Museum'. A mysterious building in ruins, underwater for most of the year apart from one week when the tides roll back and the ocean floor is revealed. Ignoring warnings of fraternisation, he is drawn to the 'degenerates' and the priests they worship culminating in an phantmasgorical experience of Biblical proportions. Exaggeration on my part? I think not..
My tentative encounters with Russian cinema of the Abstract, Expressionist, Philosophical type have not always been successful. Do these aforementioned styles fall under the umbrella of Arthouse? I am still to this day unsure how to categorise arthouse. A good indicator is if I haven't a clue what's going on coupled with symbolic imagery offering multiple interpretations. 'A Visitor to the Museum' was met with a similar reaction. My amateur efforts to analyse obscured my viewing partially. However I was more on the ball with this one. Straightaway I could see similarities to Tarkovsky's 'Stalker'. And this was before reading up on it. All the best critics on IMDB have alluded to this so I can't be wrong. Sadly noone seems particularly enamoured by the film, their main gripe being the lack of flow and the uneven transitions in story development.
Yes, I can see why others would back away for plot incoherency because I am the first in line to condemn where there is non-linear pattern. For once it did not matter one jot because there were other elements to interest and engage me. The director applies these gorgeous tinted sepia and red tones throughtout to immerse you into a fevered dreamscape of impending doom. Why the male protagonist wants to visit this Museum was unclear to me or it may have been touched upon and I had not paid attention. Again, the lack of clarity didn't mar my view. The restless seeker of knowledge was a fascinating study and I was able to discern fragments of the whole to satisfy my curiousity. I think this certainly deserves a second watch to understand further.

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