The Green Elephant

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The Green Elephant
Зеленый Слоник
The Green Elephant DVD Cover.jpg
Directed by Svetlana Baskova
Produced by Oleg Mavromati
Svetlana Baskova
Vladimir Zubkov
Written by Svetlana Baskova
Starring
Music by Pantera
Iron Butterfly
Atomic Rooster
Cinematography Svetlana Baskova
Oleg Mavromati
Edited by Supernova Studio
Distributed by Independent
Release date
1999
Running time
86 minutes
Country Russia
Language Russian
English (subtitles)

The Green Elephant (Russian: Зеленый Слоник, translit. Zelyonyy slonik, also known as Green Elephant Calf) is a 1999 Russian psychedelic exploitation horror film directed by Svetlana Baskova.[1] The movie received a limited theatrical release in Russia, as the film's violent imagery and graphic language made it unable to be distributed through the mainstream film circuit.[2] The film was shown at the 2005 International Film Festival Rotterdam and the program commented that the movie was "even more urgent because of the escalation of the war in Chechnya and growing criminality in the Russian army".[2]

The film stars Sergey Pakhomov and Vladimir Epifantsev, and follows two Russian officers locked in a military prison cell that must deal with "social and psychological problems" in their isolation through brutality and torture.[2]

Plot[edit]

Two men (both being junior officers in Soviet Army, in 1986), nicknamed "Bratishka" (Little Brother) and "Poekhavshiy" (The Mad), are being held in a penal military prison. The room which they share looks like a dark cellar with a dripping sewer pipe running through it. One of the prisoners, Poekhavshiy, seems to be delirious and never stops talking. He tells stories of his past, sings the song of the "Green Elephant" circus, does push-ups, comes up with crazy ideas and even mimics a heron in an attempt to cheer up his cellmate Bratishka, leading only to an increase in his anger. He receives a violent beating from the enraged Bratishka, before he is then taken from the cell by a guard to clean up a dirty toilet bowl with a fork.

Some time later, after Bratishka falls asleep, Poekhavshiy defecates on their shared plate for eating (calling it "sweet bread"), smears feces over his belly and consumes a large portion of it. After doing so he offers a plate with the fecal matter to the other man right after he wakes up, and drives him mad again. Poekhavishiy tells him that he is just giving him some food to eat with together (as they will not be given anything to eat), but Bratishka angrily tells him to wash himself by the dripping pipe water, threatening Poekhavshiy that he will kill him. The guard arrives from the screaming in the cell, and drags the infuriated Bratishka out to clean the toilets again. The captain arrives to the cell and lectures Poekhavshiy on the theatre of operations of the Pacific Ocean, particularly on the names and numbers of the Japanese and American ships on Pearl Harbor. He scolds Poekhavshiy on his incorrect answers, and orders a guard to go to the canteen to prepare a glass of tea for him and the officer. The captain tastes it, and comments "It tastes like urine", spilling its contents on the guard's head. He orders to guard to hold the glass with his teeth, instructing him to go and tell the kitchen staff that "this kind of tea will not be tolerated, ever." The guard then beats up Poekhavshiy.[3]

The two main characters were sent to a basement and left in a pit, where the captain subjects them to various humiliating acts. He finds the guard wetting his trousers, and beats with a whip to make him dance while the two are forced to quickly sing "Yablochko". Bratishka struggles to get out of the pit, screaming and ranting of his normality, and telling Poekhavshiy to catch a rat for him to eat. The captain returns, and asks the two about the Northern Formation.

Taunting Bratishka's requests for food, the captain forces him to oral sex, which Bratishka begs that Poekhavshiy receive it instead. The captain then subjects Poekhavshiy to oral sex,[4] while muttering the names of the Japanese carrier ships at Pearl Harbor. Driven to insanity from this, Bratishka beats the captain with a pipe, and bites off his face, before sodomizing him and tearing off his trachea. He then plays with the dead captain's trachea by making the now-insane Poekhavshiy blow it, pretending that it is an elephant's trunk.

Upon realizing that he has murdered someone, Bratishka changes his uniform with Poekhavshiy's, and commits suicide by cutting his wrists. Poekhavshiy mourns him, crying for help and muttering about his experiences with his mother. The guard arrives to the bloodied basement, and goes mad, proclaiming himself as a colonel and asking for Poekhavshiy to accompany him as a witness to the celebrations. The guard hangs himself and makes a speech, and Poekhavshiy knocks his chair over, causing the guard to fall and suffocate from the string. Poekhavshiy then scoffs at the guard's corpse as he ties it up with the string and the captain's trachea. He plays with the corpse, as he goes about singing about the "Green Elephant" and thrusting on his back, before tumbling over and falling asleep.

Between the lecturing and basement scenes, several black-and-white scenes were shown about the guard as he eats his meal and drinks. There, he complains about Poekhavshiy's and Bratishka's behavior affecting the prestige of the military, and he curses the captain, claiming that he will become a colonel. On the credits the guard is shown, improvising his own uniform as he continually screams "I am a colonel!"

Cast[edit]

  • Sergey Pakhomov as the first junior officer, "Poekhavshiy"
  • Vladimir Epifantsev as the second junior officer, "Bratishka"
  • Alexander Maslaev as the guard, the "Colonel"
  • Anatoly Osmolovsky as the captain
  • Oleg Mavromati as the captain's voice in the introduction

Soundtracks[edit]

Reception[edit]

HorrorNews.net wrote an overall favorable review for the film, stating "By the end, we find ourselves asking a lot of questions; of ourselves, of the director, of our television screens. What did we just watch? Why did these people do what we just them do? What does it all mean? I can’t answer those questions, but I can tell you that it is an experience that I am happy to have gone through, and I’d definitely be interested in checking out more of Svetlana Baskova’s movies."[5]

This film is banned for distribution in Belarus.[6][7]

Cult following[edit]

It has also gained a cult following since 2010, in which quotes from the movie were used for trolling multiplayer servers. It has also became the subject of various fan-made music videos and YouTube Poops.[8]

Remake[edit]

On January 5, 2017, Vladimir Epifantsev posted on his Instagram account that he has started working on a remake of the film, known as "Operation ZS" («Операция ZS»), in which he and Sergei Pakhomov will reprise their roles.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sasz, Nele. ""Radical" Art in Russia, the 1990s and Beyond". ARTMargins. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Green Elephant NN-2005". International Film Festival Rotterdam. 2009. 
  3. ^ Светлана Баскова «Клуб им. Дж. Рубина»
  4. ^ "Фильм зеленый слоник - кино не для всех | Зеленый слоник". Archived from the original on 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  5. ^ "Film Review: The Green Elephant (1999)". HorrorNews.net. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "Интерфакс". Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  7. ^ "Хартия'97". Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Lurkmore". Lurkmore.to. Retrieved 7 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "Life.ru". Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Российская газета". Retrieved 9 May 2017. 

External links[edit]