Synopsis by Mark Deming
In Mumu, Lyudmilla Maksakova plays Mistress, a wealthy landlady in 19th Century Russia who has a large population of serfs in her grasp -- and she happens to enjoy squeezing them every once in a while. She's always searching for new ways to emotionally manipulate her underlings, her favorite having herself pronounced dead so she can see how people would react to her passing (she's tried this more than once). Into this picture comes Gerasimo (Alexander Baluev), a bearded mountain of a man who happens to be mute. Most men regard him as a simpleton and toy with him (which they usually come to regret), while women are often charmed by his gentle yet masculine nature. Gerasimo soon finds himself in the first stages of romance with a lovely blonde serf and adopts a small dog, which he names Mumu (one of the only sounds he can make). However, Mistress is not happy with either of these developments and puts a stop to both -- which earns her Gerasimo's wrath. Based on a story by Ivan Turgenev, this historical drama ironically became the first Russian film to have its own promotional website (mumu.park.ru).
Low Production Values