Green Elephant (1999)

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Avg Rating: 3.8 / 5. Voted: 13

No one cared thus far. Do you?

AKA: Green Elephant Calf
Year: 1999
Directed by: Svetlana Baskova
Starring: Sergey Pakhomov (Fat madman), Vladimir Epifantsev (cellmate), Anatoly Osmolovsky (Captain), Alexander Maslaev (Colonel)
Country: Russia
Language: Russian (English subtitles)
Runtime: 01:26:54
Genres: Captivity-Kidnapping, Gore-Gruesome-Splatter, Necrophilia, Psychological Thrillers, Rape-Sexual-Violence against Men, Scat, Torture, Military

Plot – Spoilers:
Two men are being imprisoned in a dirty cellar with sewer pipes running through it. The reason for their imprisonment isn’t clear but there is a mention of impending execution. There are two other characters who appear later, the Captain holding them and his mentally broken slave who claims to be a Colonel.

The first half of the film is mostly dialogue driven and hilarious as the older fat prisoner deliriously drifts from one anecdote to another, driving the younger guy to despair. Keeping time with the incessant talk is a constant drip from a leaky pipe that offers no letup in a scenario where you’d normally imagine silence is a freely available commodity.

The fat one seems to be genuinely insane, a fact the younger guy takes a while to comprehend. He kind of represents hope as he tries to keep it together while the fat guy rambles on and on even indulges in some scat fun. It could well be that they are really not guilty of any crime but are merely objects in some perverse fantasy of the Captain. Eventually, it’s the second half that throws up extreme gore action as the younger prisoner finally snaps.

The Green Elephant is shot in a home video style. This initially confuses you into thinking there is a third presence recording the conversations especially when the fat prisoner talks about ‘people’ in their cellar. This though seems unlikely and the home-video style possibly was used to convey a certain mood and dysfunctionality of the whole situation.

Favourite Scenes:
1. The conversations in the first half are hilarious and brilliant. What makes it funnier is, though the younger prisoner is forever asking the fat guy to shut the fuck up, he occasionally ends up asking questions to clarify the rubbish that’s being spouted. It’s like he’s been drawn into the madness and can’t help but pay attention to his insane cellmate.

2. The scat scene:
Before he takes a dump, the fat prisoner sort of offers his plate to his sleeping partner and seems genuinely excited about what he’s about to indulge in.

3. The use of the Captain’s windpipe like a sort of trumpet as they break into song.

4 thoughts on “Green Elephant (1999)

  • February 2, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    An all time classic!

  • December 3, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Just a question to admin: was is full uncut version or it was cut and censored in any way?

    • December 4, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Yeah, IMDB says a few minutes more, but I think we can put that down to regional differences in the video standards. Never seen a longer copy than this. Also, not sure what more could have been cut out 🙂

  • December 3, 2020 at 11:16 am

    I believe without knowing the Russian history since 1917 and also the trauma that nation had suffered after collapse of soviet union, judging and understanding of this movie is impossible. It had a lot to do with the brutal soviet culture, trauma after collapse and also the not knowing future of the whole Eastern bloke. I have lived many years in pre and post soviet union and still don’t get this movie, however I can confirm that life is not a celebration over there. Also no female was playing any role in a movie directed by a woman. That’s a big issue.


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