Synopsis by Nathan Southern
A zany black comedy with echoes of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Skin Game, Bedniye Rodstvenniki (Roots) hones in on a Russian con-job. Shameless slimeball Eduard "Edik" Letov (Konstantin Khabensky) - clad in an everpresent Hawaiian shirt - puts the sting on alien travelers hoping to connect with their roots, by having local phonies pose as the visitors' long-lost relatives. Complications abound when Letov attempts to pass off an entire village under the guise of a community wiped out during the Second World War. The arrival of a group of trouble-causing misfits, among them mobster Barukh (Leonid Kanevsky) - who wishes to bury his mother's remains, only to discover that someone keeps exhuming them - and the lech Simon (Otto Tausig) - a Canadian with an insatiable fetish for his sexy translator - turn Letov's latest scheme into a veritable cat's cradle. Screenwriter Gennady Ostrovsky fills his scenario with the most eccentric characters in memory - such as the masseuse certain that his pet carp is a reincarnated cosmonaut - and outrageous plot twists. Critically acclaimed by reviewers in the States, Bedniye Rodstvenniki debuted in its native Russia in October 2005, and premiered in the United States at the Portland Film Festival, February 2006.