Vse umrut, a ya ostanus (Everybody Dies But Me) is a Russian film by director Valeriya Gay Germanika (who is my age) and written by Yuri Klavdiyev and Aleksandr Rodionov. It centers on three high school girls who are around 14 years old Katya, Vika and Zhanna, who we see are excited for a school disco. Their whole lives begin to revolve around this disco, as it turns out to be an escape from their home lives, which are rather unpleasant. But as the time gets closer to the disco, their dynamic changes and they each make some big mistakes that will have some dire consequences. In a way you can compare this film to the likes of Larry Clark’s Kids and Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen. The film does fit nicely in there between those, and it some ways it does surpass those films. They have similar themes, but this one just felt so real and raw. With the setting being in Russia, it has this different feel to it yet the dynamics of high school are still the same.
Usually I like to get a bit more in-depth with the synopsis, but this film benefits from the viewer going into it knowing as little as possible. We’ve all experienced high school, and we’ve all had difference experiences. What it was like to be at that awkward age, honestly it isn’t that easy to capture on film and feel like a realistic portrayal. Everybody Dies But Me does this perfectly, the writers managed to capture being a 14-year-old girl so well and it is almost a shock to know they are male. It was actually something easy to relate to, having close friends and talking about boys and wanting to experiment with those things we shouldn’t be. In a way that made the film so captivating for me to watch, but I honestly think that this is a really captivating film. It does have some disturbing elements; it deals with issues like abuse, suicide, drugs, sex, bullying and all the rest. Unfortunately school is like that, people have their groups, others get bullied and it is a big deal. It is refreshing to see it dealt with in an honest way; while other films handle these issues (Say Easy A or Mean Girls) in comedic ways, this wants you to experience it in such a raw way. The film could almost be a documentary on these girls, dealing with their home lives and school lives.
A film like this probably wouldn’t have worked so well without outstanding performances. The three lead girls Polina Filonenko as Katya, Agniya Kuznetsova as Zhanna and Olga Shuvalova as Vika are all amazing. They embody their characters so well, the chemistry between them works so well, as I keep saying it felt genuine. I thought Olga Shuvalova was the standout, and I almost missed her when she wasn’t on screen. The supporting cast are all quite good as well but the film belongs to the trio. The direction by Valeriya Gay Germanika is quite beautiful; the shots in the film are so captivating and stunning. For a film that runs for about 80 minutes, I really wanted it to be longer. It was paced so well, it flowed fantastically and naturally. There are some scenes that look so amazing with their visuals that subtitles are almost not needed. This is a film that made me feel a lot of things and 24 hours later it is still with me. I highly recommend this film to all of my readers, it is well worth your time and it will certainly stay with you.