Mikhail Romanovskiy’s film is an exploration of the human character and its ever-present loneliness, even in circumstances where its presence might seem very unlikely. It portrays humane traits, flaws and the changing nature of one’s personality, all while a number of things remain constant. This short film, clocking in at just under 35 minutes, adheres to the principles developed in the beginning and stemming from its title at all times, and offers a very meaningful conclusion within the context of its overarching theme.
The film starts with Tyoma, a young aspiring film director who attempts to get into film school. He temporarily moves to Moscow, and is offered a place to stay by a childhood friend, while she is away. It is in this apartment where he meets Lisa, his to-be housemate, who immediately catches his attention. She is charming, spontaneous, funny and very smart – he simply cannot resist her allure, and the thought of her soon occupies the most important place in his mind. He soon grows jealous when he discovers Lisa’s adventures, and starts becoming wary about her secrets.
‘Lonely Souls of Microbes‘ is an excellent film that fully delivers its message and multifaceted array of meanings and takeaways. First of all, it should instantly glue audiences to the screen and keep them hooked – the plot is dynamic, flows in a cohesive manner and continuously poses questions and half-questions for which the answer is not immediately given. We thought that by far, the best element of this short film was the character of Lisa – wonderfully written and brilliantly portrayed. On the exterior, she radiates a special kind of energy that comes at odds with her inner loneliness, and her hidden demons – something that Tyoma isn’t fully aware of from the start. As more and more questions pile up, the young man discovers that she doesn’t know Lisa at all, despite living in the same apartment with her and sharing many intimate moments with her. Tyoma’s character works well in the context, and the general philosophy of the film applies to him as well, but he’s largely predictable and simply doesn’t inspire as much as Lisa does.
Wonderfully shot, edited and acted, no element feels out of place in the film, and nothing is there just as filler content. There is a harmonious mix of themes, each explored in enough depth to offer a meaningful and enjoyable experience. Our only small concern was with the plot – it structure is a bit predictable, and key moments can be pre-anticipated if enough similar productions have been seen by the viewer in question. While the outer elements could indeed have room for improvement, the inner meanings of the story are wonderfully exposed and warrant deep reflections on human nature. Lonely Souls of Microbes is a great achievement that should stay in the minds of audiences long after the credits role. For all the reasons stated above, TMFF selected Mikhail Romanovskiy’s work as the runner-up in the Film of the Month category for the November 2017 edition of the festival.