That Russian Mafia Doc at Tribeca Looks Interesting, Deets

03.11.10 Marina Galperina

Schlepping to attention among this year’s Tribeca Film Festival‘s documentary picks is a film featuring several major show-boating Russian mafioso.

As a doc, Thieves By Law promises a lot, with its “an unprecedented insider first look into the living rooms and offices of some of the most controversial and elite head honchos in the Russian mafia,” with tattoo and lingo disambiguation a plenty. The legitimacy is naturally suspect (aren’t Bad Boys supposed to move in silence or some such?), but the pitch is curious.

Makes you wonder, who’s this director Alexander Gentelev to get invited in to the loop? As a reverse Russian spy trolling his LiveJournal, I’ve gathered that he has a dog named Chaplin, was in a bad mood past Tuesday because there were no pig ears at the pet store, and has tons of un-captioned extra film footage free-floating on YouTube (like one of this mysterious fellow, recalling that in the 1990s, no matter what your profession, doctors and all, if there was even a hint of a hooligan in your soul, the streets swept you up and shelved you into a fitting crime rank. He also explains the difference between chmo and loh.)

This year, having pared down/diluted their annual selections from 120 films to 85, Tribeca seems to be going for a Sundance-ish theme in its selections (world issues, disabilities, blah blah), so a doc like this feels proper. I’m game for some Ru-crime story telling.