Sep 21, 2013
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest and most biting ironies of the modern world is that, instead of attempting to appeal to the nationalistic anti-communist white mainstream and rabid rednecks in spewing hatred against the Russians as was done constantly during the Cold War era, the mainstream media and mulatto president now target queers and leftists in propagating totally propagandistic hatred against ruskis because the Slavs, who still have testicular fortitude and common sense ideals, do not buy into poof cultural Marxism and logical fallacies like ‘equality’ and whatnot. After all Russians have more important things to care about than allowing men who penetrate other men’s rectums with their penises to be allowed in the military or whether homos should be allowed to be in charge of Boy Scout troops comprised of prepubescent boys. That being said, it should be no surprise that the Russian anti-communist cocksucker flick Sto dney do prikaza (1994) aka 100 Days Before the Command—certainly an ominous and one-of-a-kind celluloid soldier’s story if there ever was one about the state sanctioned dehumanization of Red Army recruits—was banned by the Soviets upon its release. In fact, although completed in 1990, director Hussein Erkenov (Kholod, Ne strelyayte v passazhira aka Don't Shoot the Passengers) was not even able to get the film screened until after starting his own sales company and eventually having it premiered at the 1995 Berlin Film Festival. On top of that, to mislead Soviet authorities, Erkenov, with the help of screenwriters Yuri Polyakov and Vladimir Golodov, had to create two fake screenplays on top of the real one to even get 100 Days Before the Command made so as to mislead the fine folks at the Gorky Film Studio, a film studio named after a man who ironically stated “eradicate homosexuals and fascism will disappear.” Unfortunately, Soviet literary propagandist Maxim Gorky did live to see not only the fall of his commie utopia, but also a film so homoerotic and critical of the Red Army as 100 Days Before the Command, a film that takes a rather delightfully degenerate approach to Socialist realism. A hyper hallucinatory and sometimes even surreal cinematic work that has no real beginning nor end but instead wanders aimlessly in a sort of charismatically creepy celluloid Soviet purgatory, 100 Days Before the Command is a mystifying metaphysical fever dream that alternates between heaven and hell, but mostly hell, in terms of the daily routines of boyish soldiers whose sole source of solace is homoerotic tomfoolery and daydreaming. Depicting the Marxist military manner of molding innocent boys into murderous machinelike men who act as slavish lost souls of the Soviet state, 100 Days Before the Command makes allegorical references to Christian icon Saint George and his slaying of a dragon at the bottom of a lake that ate babies that were sacrificed to it, the serpent in the film being the Soviet Army. Utilizing real-life soldiers for virtually all the film roles as well as real army barracks, 100 Days Before the Command is cinematic realism at its most flagrantly fragmented and forebodingly transcendental as a film that is totally unforgettable, even if it has nothing resembling a discernible storyline nor plot.
Beginning with the Psalm 22:6 quote, “But I am a worm, and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people,” which certainly describes how the characters in the film must feel, 100 Days Before the Command soon cuts to Red army recruits goofing around gayly, but after a mysterious man appears, they are depicted laying in grass in seeming ecstasy, but also as what could also be seen as cold corpses on a battlefield. If anything is clear, it is that doom is in the air as echoed by a failed war in Afghanistan and premonitions of the collapse of the Soviet Union as 100 Days Before the Command certainly translates the dreadful atmosphere of its particular zeitgeist. Although featuring dozens of recruits, 100 Days Before the Command only focuses on five of them as they try in vain to maintain dignity and hope in a hopeless and undignified realm of physical and emotional brutality and 24 hour video surveillance. In terms of fun, the boy soldiers give each other baths and soap one another’s buttocks, which was apparently a common practice among the Soviets. Of course, in between homo-style bathhouse rubdowns, some soldiers bully and beat other soldiers in a somewhat S&M-inspired fashion. Visions, real or imagined, of Red Army corpses appear randomly. A female soldier named “Death”—the girlfriend of a degenerate commander—is the sole ‘bright’ light at the army barracks and she is introduced swimming unclad in the indoor army swimming pool. After discovering one of the boys, who is naked and in despair, imprisoned in a dark room, she complains to a supervisor, but her empathy is simply disregarded because in the Red Army realm, all emotions and innocence must be smashed and mutilated with a hammer and sickle. Another young soldier, working as a guard, imagines lady Death, who is wearing nothing but a rifle over her soldier, coming up to him while he is on watch and he reacts absurdly, assumedly out of fear for human comfort and pleasure, by threatening to kill her, but he eventually accepts her warm embrace, thereupon letting his guard down in a world where such a human luxury cannot be afforded. In one particularly disturbing scene that will rock the cocks of masochists, an elderly commander catches a soldier naked and smoking and assumedly brutally beats the boy (one only hears his horrific screams), but not before staring at his genitals in a rather unsettling manner. Of course, fellow soldiers are no less cruel as demonstrated by a comrade who urinates on a compatriot while he is asleep. Undoubtedly, if 100 Days Before the Command demonstrates anything, it is that political dissidents are not the only people in Siberian labor camps as the film depicts the Soviet Union as a cold and harsh gulag of the soul where even death seems preferable to drudging on.
If 100 Days Before the Command is even remotely accurate in depicting the apocalyptic atmosphere of the Soviet Union, especially among soldiers, then the Russians would have been probably been better off had the Third Reich annihilated them during the Second World War. While surely similar in its oneiric and ominous atmosphere, 100 Days Before the Command is a virtual nemesis film to Elem Klimov’s masterpiece Come and See (1985) aka Idi i smotri in its depiction of the Soviets being in league with Satan. Aesthetically, 100 Days Before the Command manages to, rather deceptively, dream up visions of Tarkovsky, Sokurov, and Parajanov using cinematic techniques no more lavish than that of Soviet realism. Only so gay as showing naked young men and a couple scenes showing torture and sadomasochism that might turn on some more debauched sodomites, 100 Days Before the Command is more anti-Soviet and anti-authority than anything, depicting boys being sacrificed to a figurative Soviet serpent of sorts, hence the film’s references to Saint George, who is nowhere to be found in the film. More than anything else, 100 Days Before the Command seems like a Slavic spiritual horror film set in a pre-apocalyptic red regime whose populous had been physically and emotionally raped by a monolithic atheistic authoritarian monster of the soul-draining sort. Featuring phantom nude corpses on autopsy tables, the seemingly demonic surveillance of characters at all places and all hours on a neon green computer monitor, the following of a young boy on a haunting path of corpses to his bed where he sleeps with his adult aged brother, the complete and utter grimness and decay of ruined and dilapidated post-industrial Soviet barracks and swimming pools, and the spooked and possessed somnambulist-like movements of the soldiers, 100 Days Before the Command is undoubtedly a potent and perturbing collection of petite vignettes that paints a phantasmagoric portrait of Perestroika in an aesthetically allegorical form. A more poetic and esoteric Slavized version of what Claire Denis attempted with Beau Travail (1999) set to the Baroque Teutonic melancholy of Johann Sebastian Bach, 100 Days Before the Command reminds the viewer that every once in a while, an anti-war film cannot only be free of putrid preachiness of the hopelessly contrived sort, but can also be absurdly artistic and atmospheric to the point where it deconstructs and reinvents the entire subgenre. That being said, one could argue that the repression of homosexuals in Russia is a good thing as it forces artists and filmmakers to be more creative and less conspicuous as was clearly the case with 100 Days before the Command, a film featuring flagrant homoeroticism without the lisps, shallow clothing and personalities, and other limp-wristed Glee-loving philistinic American aberrosexuals.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 10:38 PM
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