Humorist, The


In the mid-1980s, the twilight years of the Soviet Union, Latvian Boris Arkadiev, a onetime novelist, has taken up stand-up insult comedy. In the spirit of the traditional court jester, Boris is a state-sponsored mischief maker who is allowed to make jokes about authority figures to show what a bunch of regular Joes they are. Boris is wildly popular, and his monologues are known by everyone. He has reaped all the benefits that go along with playing ball with those in power: a fabulous apartment, a beautiful wife, adoring female fans. His barbs are sometimes a little too sharp, but everyone knows what a devoted servant of the Stalinist bureaucracy he is, so he seems safe. But how long can he continue to pursue this charade and conceal the real bitterness within? His son is a young rebel with nothing but contempt for his father, who in his eyes is really nothing more than an enabler of hypocrisy, a Jew who entertains anti-Semitic authority figures. A KGB major wants him to toast his wife, a onetime movie star who is now old and fat, and the humor turns harsh, putting Boris on the verge of going too far, with terrible consequences. As one sardonic friend says, "It's a zoo and we are the animals." - Miguel Pendás

Director Michael Idov in person in San Francisco

Note: Contains Nudity

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