Hundreds of thousands of Russians drive every day without incident, and the Russian Federation trails far behind India and China in terms of fatalities per year, but the former USSR has the reputation for the most dangerous roads, thanks to the preponderance of dashboard cameras. Dmitrii Kalashnikov’s The Road Movie is composed entirely of footage of accidents, fights, and general mayhem on gray roads of Russia recorded by these cameras and uploaded to YouTube.
What it lacks in narrative structure, it makes up for with a brisk 67-minute running time and the knowledge it’s all authentic. Though there are occasional supercuts of the money shots of accidents — some of which surely involve fatalities — most sequences have a beginning, middle, and end. And while The Road Movie has plenty of flared tempers and countless F-bombs and more than a few straight-up crazy people, what’s remarkable is how sanguine many of the drivers are. You’d probably freak out if your car plunged down a hill into a river, but the occupants of the newly amphibious car in question are mostly just annoyed. Similarly, while the people driving through a forest fire appropriately call it “a nightmare,” they don’t bother to turn down the music blasting from their stereo. Oh, Motherfuckin’ Russia. Maybe we could learn something from you.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.