KOMPROMPOT REVEALS WHY DANCING CAN BE DANGEROUS
A Frenchman, Mathieu Roussel (played by Gilles Lellouche) is a French arts ambassador who heads the Alliance Française mission in Irkutsk, Siberia. A homoerotic dance is performed one night on the stage. Afterward, some of those involved go to a local bar to dance. One of the Russians working for the office, Svetlana (Joanna Kulig), dances with Rousell. Rostov (Mikhail Gorevoy), the local head of FSB (formerly the KGB), watches with displeasure as the two enjoy dancing because she is his daughter-in-law. Three weeks later, Roussel is arrested at home in a brutal manner in the presence of his wife and daughter. The false charge is a disseminating child pornography on the Internet and sexually assaulting his daughter. The charge is a classic kompromot, namely, information intended to discredit Rousell. The background for the plot is set thereby, based “loosely” on actual events, though the subtext is how much Russians regard Westerners as effete and evil.
When Roussel enters a prison containing bunk beds for about 20 persons, the punks in charge ask him what he has done, but he is too dazed to say anything. Soon the punks find out and beat him so hard that he is reassigned to a cell. Disgusted by prison food, one day he receives a gift of snacks, and the same gift is placed in his cell daily until his lawyer arranges for him to be released to his residence with an ankle monitor to ensure that he cannot escape. But his wife and daughter do not greet him because, he is told, they have left the country. His wife evidently was only permitted to return to France after signing the deposition that led to his arrest. He brings home receipts enclosed in the bags with snacks, which has a smiley face drawn on the bottom; they were purchased from the same store near his home about 5:30 p.m., so he goes to the store and discovers that Svetlana sent the snacks. In a few days his attorney Borodin (Aleksey Gorbunov) tells him that the only way to avoid hard labor in a Russian prison for a sentence of 10 or 15 years is to plan an escape. The rest of the film, directed by Jérôme Salle, then deals with his perilous effort to escape to freedom—and Svetlana’s role in helping him. There are many unexpected turns and twists, with Rostov and his minions in hot pursuit, as Rousell tries to escape to Estonia. MH