The Powerless Protagonist - a Reflection on the Powerlessness of the Individual in Modern Russian Society Through the Film "Durak" (the Fool)

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The powerless protagonist - A reflection on the powerlessness of the individual in modern Russian society through the film “Durak” (The Fool)

“You must obey the law, always, not only when they grab you by your special place.”

Vladimir Putin
I grew up on American movies built around stories portraying an underdog protagonist (ex. Erin Brockovich) who against all odds through hardship and danger manages to beat all sources of antagonism, fight injustice, save the day, and ride off into the sunset with cash and a high sense of self-achievement, reaching a full transformation circle in his/her character development.
In contrast, after watching “The Fool” by Yuri Bykov, and “Leviathan” by Andrey
Zvyagintsev I couldn't help but noticing the exact opposite. Namely, the stories revolve around an underdog protagonist, who in a toxically decaying environment, never seem to change or learn anything while battling against either corruption, injustice or both, ending up with the protagonist being ruined in every way imaginable, losing practically everything including his family and hope, his efforts ridiculed, and he himself severely physically punished.
The two protagonists are of course very different, however, one needs to be reminded that behind every movie script there is an individual writer with a goal of conveying a statement to his audience. In the film “the Fool” through Dima, the powerless protagonist, the writer/director describes a society that is deeply in decay, where people are treating each other like swine, a place where love means nothing without financial security, where the immediate family is a source of great pain caused by physical or mental torture (or both). A place where friendship only exist through a common foundation of values based on moral corruption. The statement is seemingly straightforward: In…...

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