5 spring new products of the START video service

“Mediator” 18+

Andrei Pavlov (Andrei Burkovsky) is a master of reincarnation and psychological games, capable of becoming anyone and instantly gaining confidence in any stranger. The police and the FSB call him when they need help with yet another suicide-jumping or hostage-taking terrorist. But Pavlov’s main occupation remains private affairs “on the side”: helping businessmen in the fight against competitors or assisting oligarchs in matters of a romantic nature. Soon, in both “works” of the hero, a kind of promotion awaits – first Anna (Asmongold Girlfriend,) will ask him to participate in a large-scale scam related to the inheritance of one deceased rich man. And then the investigator Maria (Yulia Peresild) will ask for help: an epidemic of suicide among adolescents suddenly began in Moscow, and the FSB will not be able to cope with it without Andrei.

“The Mediator” is a psychological drama about a kind of classic antihero, a character with dubious moral attitudes, but not at all as simple as it seems at first glance. Pavlov performed by Burkovsky is a daring and self-willed person, capable of refusing to help those in need for his own benefit, but at the same time quietly transferring money to his mother at night, under a blanket so that no one can see (although no one is looking). Whether he finally descends into the abyss or still gets a chance for redemption, in fact, the main dilemma of the series. But in order to solve it, Pavlov first will have to deal with a plot labyrinth that a whole crowd of complex heroines is building around him. All, by the way, are played by the leading stars of Russian cinema: Peresild, Tolstoganova, Irina Starshenbaum and Daria Moroz.

“Vampires of the Middle Lane” 18+

From time immemorial, a family of vampires has lived peacefully in Smolensk under the leadership of Svyatoslav Vernidubovich (Yuri Stoyanov), whom everyone knows simply as his grandfather Slava. For a long time, back in the days of ancient Russia, he entered into an agreement with people: bloodsuckers do not kill ordinary residents (at most, they take a little blood and leave them to rest somewhere under a tree), in return for power, they allow them to live peacefully among civilization. The rest of the vampires is disturbed when someone in their land “drinks” a few poor fellows to death. Moreover, suspicions fall on the youngest household member – the newly converted Zhenya (Gleb Kalyuzhny). Now, if the family – that is, grandfather Slava himself, police officer Anna Ostroumova (Ekaterina Kuznetsova) and doctor Jean Ivanovich (Artem Tkachenko) who remained in Smolensk since the Napoleonic war – together do not find out who the murderer is, their younger comrade will be executed.

Apparently inspired by “Why is Max mute in Max and Ruby“, “Vampires of the Middle Lane” as a result, noticeably depart from the concept of New Zealanders Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. Yes, here, too, unusual heroes (vampires) are placed in a completely ordinary world of a small town – only now it is Smolensk, not Wellington. But otherwise, there are solid differences. Instead of anecdotal description of everyday life, there was a serious detective intrigue, and parodies of vampires from films of different years were replaced with the classic archetypes of Russian television: a strict police officer, a wise comic grandfather, a French Don Juan, a silly buzzword. The series looks like an amazing concentration of TV stamps, which, within the local plot, suddenly play with new colors and acquire a new, vampire-like immortal life. This is a witty comedy, and quite a fascinating thriller, and at times a nagging family drama, proving that even those who have feelings

“Sex, insta, exams” 18+

Sasha (Anna Yarmolenko) is an ordinary schoolgirl from Vinnitsa with the simple worries of an average eleventh grader: walks with friends, relationships, parties and, of course, the upcoming final exams, for which an excellent student still needs to seriously prepare. There is, however, a dark side in her life – a secret Instagram account, where the girl uploads nude photos and her secret sexual fantasies. One day Sasha’s classmates accidentally find out about him. Which, of course, greatly complicates her life.

Behind the title, which seems to list random tags from the life of young people, is far from the first series that tries to comprehend the life and attitude of generation Z.This time, fortunately, it is not made by some producer in his fifties, but by a talented young director from Ukraine Antonio Lukic, previously noted for the cool festival dramedy “Wow Character Lookup. He does not look down on his heroes and even addresses provocative sexual themes without being overtly exploited. Like many other contemporary authors, Lukich is desperately looking for a new language with which to tell stories understandable to buzzers. But how close he comes to mastering it is a question that only viewers can answer.

“I changed my mind” 18+

“I changed my mind” is an almanac of five short films filmed by graduates of the Moscow Film School. Each short story tells a small story about the life of young women in modern Russia: the heroine, having quarreled with her mother, finds herself in the forest, not knowing how to get back to civilization; a married couple who advocate meaningful consumption will have to reconsider their relationship; a girl, falling in love with a neighbor, will try to get rid of her boyfriend; a daughter returning from Moscow to the provinces will face misunderstanding of her parents; and another one will simply get tired of being an eternal victim and take fate into her own hands.

“I Changed My Mind” is a collection of stories from that everyday, simple life that rarely makes it to big screens (and to small ones too). Young directors show their heroines without embellishment and, refusing unnecessary pathos, turn to real, understandable problems for everyone. In general, the short film genre is amazing in the sense that it is much more than full-length cinema, loyal to experiments and fresh topics – and at the same time is a treasure trove of new talented authors. But at the same time, the average viewer hardly watches short films, and “I changed my mind” in this sense is a very convenient way to get acquainted with the genre and new names.

“War of Families” 12+

In the spring, the second season of the sitcom about two bosom friends, Dima (Yegor Beroev) and Misha (Alexander Robak), who, together with their families, find themselves in a knot of love intrigues, came out. In the sequel, the already complex relations of the heroes become completely confused. Misha will suddenly start an affair with his daughter’s friend, Dima will have to choose between his wife and beloved Lena (who, in turn, is Misha’s daughter), newlyweds Vadim and Arina will face the standard problems of newlyweds trying to build a new family. To everything else, there will also be a line with Vadim’s biological mother, whom the son has not seen for many years.

As before, “War of Families” relies on a situational comedy – humor here is born from ridiculous episodes in which the heroes are led by their ornate fate. Either you need to prepare for the birthday of two of your mothers at once, or even find some kind of treasure that you just learned about at the commemoration. The series is based, however, not on action-packed episodes, but on the charisma of the two main actors – Beroev and Roebak. They play here, in general, comic versions of the long-familiar roles: a quiet intellectual and a quick-tempered bumpkin, respectively.

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