Film

Film

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A zippy, nasty 1998 Dutch film that only hit U.S. screens in small festivals, Robert Jan Westdijk’s low-life melodrama seems ripe for an American remake—or an Off-Broadway theatricalization. It’s essentially a three-person dogfight: Two wily buddies make a subtext-clogged living by seducing and then ripping off female tourists—the pilfered passport pages line a shrine in their apartment—until a lithe little Russian girl moves in and pulls a Yojimbo on their ass. Cut and shot into a riotous there’s-no-more-coke state of anxiety, Westdijk’s movie may never attain the Blier-ness it strives for, but it’s hothouse fun, mainly due to the presence, as the waif who plays the players, of cat-eyed femme Vlatka Simac, whose Russian-Cheshire smile is among the most mysterious at work in movieland. Simac is, so far, a treasure criminally underexploited by world filmmakers; here’s to hoping Siberia will DVD its way onto the right producer’s coffee table, and she will be finally discovered.

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