Ivan Tverdovski’s Film “Zoology” (Russia)

“’Zoology’ (2016) is a genuine oddity: bizarre, surprising and affecting. If it’s meaning is muddled, Natalia Pavlenkova’s central turn makes the tale – and the tail – worthwhile.

You’ve never seen anything quite like “Zoology”, only the second film of young Russian writer-director Ivan Tverdovski’s career.

Sure, you’ve probably seen a film that looks similar.”

“Though it was filmed in the lovely Black Sea town of Tuapse, “Zoology” looks like something straight out of the Romanian New Wave or from the Dardenne brothers, with handheld shots of gloomy people living under brooding skies occasionally interrupted by the piercing fluorescent lighting of institutional settings. Aside from aesthetics, however, it is amazing how wildly unique “Zoology” is.”

“A combination of fairy-tale wonderment and stark realism propels this enthralling film, which showcases serious acting talent in its lead spot with relative newcomer Natalia Pavlenkova”.


“There are strains of Gogol and Kafka in this fascinating movie from Russian director Ivan Tverdovski, shot in a restless handheld style, the camera roaming and panning across a dreary workaday world.
Layers of satire and allegory in a defiantly oddball tale of personal growth. But the impact of the sheer weirdness of the story is universal. An intriguing Russian satire.”

“Ivan I. Tverdovski gives the world a poetically tragic story of a reclusive outsider. It’s painful, it’s grim, and it’s sometimes hard to watch, but patient viewers will be rewarded by this unclassifiable oddity. Touching, gently whimsical, grotesque and very strange.”

Zoology” (Zoologhia, 2016), directed by Ivan Tverdovski ; Cast: Natalia Pavlenkova, Dmitri Groshev, Irina Chipizhenko, Masha Tokareva, Aleksandr Gorchilin.

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