Aleksei Balabanov’s MORPHINE (2008, Russia) is about a young doctor recently posted at a remote Russian village and his gradual descent into morphine addiction. Set in 1917 against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution, this episodic film captures a cross-section of the Russian people – from the crumbling nobility to the simplest peasant who are impacted by the rapidly changing political scenario. The film’s stunning recreation of the period, the attention to details, the study of social mores and the depiction of bleak Russian winter are testimony to the immense talent of the director who died at the age of 54 in 2013, causing an irreparable loss to world cinema.
Look up this masterly work and his other films, all playing on MUBI. Aleksei Balabanov is amongst the most significant directors to have emerged in the last 20 years.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.