COMPROMISED LAND

The Portland Phoenix
11.07-13.2003
Peter Keough

... Gluck's transformation of an object into something human and beloved inverts that ultimate tale of family rejection, Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis (2002; November 11 at 8 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts), in which the human takes a turn for the worse. Russian director Valery Fokin is stark but puckish, the near-monochromatic imagery evoking the gothic creepiness and mordant glee of Polish movie posters. How quickly one's tenuous bonds to the family prove to be when one is turned into a giant cockroach, as meek clerk Gregor Samsa discovers one morning. Mimed by Yevgeny Mironov without special effects and with little make-up, Gregor makes for a touching bug, and Fokin captures much of Kafka's black comic spirit in pursuing this hideous cosmic joke to its oddly liberating punch line. ...