"A Friend of the Deceased" was filmed in the capital of Ukraine, primarily against the nostalgic backdrop of old Kiev, with its street lamps and cobbled lanes, its little cafés and sumptuous Baroque churches. By way of contrast, the killer who is to eliminate Anatoli lives in the hyper-realistic world of Kiev 2, a huge housing project which is still under construction, lost in the sand dunes which continually threaten to engulf the building site. Over the course of the story, Anatoli discovers a third Kiev, that of the night hawks, with Beverly Hills-style restaurants, night clubs and an assortment of prostitutes and nouveaux riches.
The film was shot by Ukraine's best-known director of photography, Vilen Kaluta, who received several international awards for his photography in Nikita Mikhalkov's Academy Award-winning "Burnt by the Sun."
The screenplay is the work of a young writer, Andreï Kourkov, a script teacher at Cambridge University, a member of the English Pen Club, 1993 winner of the Heinrich Böll Prize, and considered to be one of the best satirists-- in the tradition of Bulgakov-- in contemporary Russian literature.
This Franco-Ukrainian co-production was made possible by the collaboration between the French co-producers and their Ukrainian counterparts. Pierre Rival of Compagnie Est Ouest was responsible for the in-the-field, daily running of the film in collaboration with Mykola Machenko, head of the Studios Dovzhenko for whom this film marks a comeback after a long hiatus.
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