Dikiy Vostok (aka The Wild East)
dir. Rashid Nugmanov
cast: Aleksandr Aksyonov, Farkhad Amankulov, Konstantin Fyodorov
A group of circus dwarves flee the collapse of civilisation and set up a village in a remote part of the former Soviet Union. Beset by bandits, they hire an oddball selection of gunfighters to protect them and see off the bandits.
The best post-apocalyptic take on The Seven Samurai. The heroes are suitably quirky- an pseudo cowboy who charges his fee in cigarettes, his gangster friend, their glamorous driver, an alcoholic, an ineffectual stuntman, a traditional Mongolian hunter and a traumatised war veteran who is not quite with them or against them, and they seem pretty ineffectual at first. The bleak but beautiful Kazakh wilderness, provides the perfect backdrop for the action. The expected spaghetti western cliches are body swerved- at the first confrontation with the bikers, the stand off is cut short by a hail of bullets. There's a surreal edge to the film (vegetables used to demonstrate tactics come alive, the retreat of the bikers at one point is speeded up Benny Hill style) which feeds into the vein of black humour that runs through it but this doesn't overpower the feel of the film. An odd, obscure little film but well worth tracking down.