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The Independent Critic

Lev Evlampiev, Dmitry Kem
Diana Galimzyanova

 "Imaginary Fiend" an Insightful Russian Short 

Diana Galimzyanova's nearly 10-minute short film Imaginary Fiend is a psychological thriller about an agoraphobic misanthropist who orders himself an imaginary enemy.

Not surprisingly, everything goes wrong.

An allegory for life with Asperger's Syndrome, Imaginary Fiend is particularly effective precisely because Galimzyanova is remarkably faithful to portraying that life with a remarkable lack of body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and eye contact throughout the film. Of course, much of the credit must also go to Galimzyanova's excellent cast, including Lev Evlampiev and Dmitry Kem, who bring the simple yet memorable story to life in a most effective way.

Imaginary Fiend had its world premiere at the Cannes Short Film Corner and has already been accepted into at least 12 film festivals in seven countries, a solid indicator of the film's emotional power precisely because it doesn't depend upon emotional power to get its point across. Based in Moscow, Galimzyanova is clearly a filmmaker with an understanding of both story and image. D.P. Svetlana Makarova's lensing is unnerving and intimate as it weaves itself around the internal and external worlds of our key players. It is difficult to project both imaginary and real within the confines of a 9+ minute film, but Makarova pulls it off in a way that keeps you immersed within the film.

Continuing on its festival run, Imaginary Fiend is a solid debut from an up-and-coming filmmaker. I'll be looking forward to seeing where she goes in the future.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic