Joining “Fish Tank” and “Precious” in 2009’s prominent mini-genre of stories about troubled girls and the mothers who hate them, “Wolfy” marks a startling debut for writer-director Vassily Sigarev, as well as for fireball actress Yana Troyanova, on whose (presumably rather miserable) childhood experiences Sigarev based his script. Tracing the one-way love between an introverted young girl (Polina Plutchek) and her alcoholic, frequently absent mother (Troyanova) from birth to teenage years, the film is necessarily bleak, but escapes standard kitchen-sink territory via Sigarev’s surreal, often stunningly sensual visual sensibility that lifts it into the realm of modern fairy tale.

A throat-grabbing opening sequence sets the tone for what will follow, as Troyanova’s heavily pregnant character — a lurid vision throughout the film in orange hair and electric-blue dress — stumbles across a snowy plain, pursued by cops after a knife attack. As she goes into premature labor on the ground, blood and snow are married in close-up, and the child’s journey into the world continues along a similar balance of violence and purity. (The girl develops a fascination with death, expounded in the film’s most fascinating stretch, where she forms a spiritual friendship with a young boy buried in the local cemetery.)

You’ll have gathered by now that the film isn’t a particularly gentle watch, and Sigarev makes no concessions towards the redemptive impulses that usually color the final act of such stories — we fear as much for mother and daughter alike when we leave them as when we meet them. But Troyanova’s electric portrayal, by turns tragic and terrifying, of a woman who was never emotionally equipped to raise a child keeps our sympathies curiously on edge, and she’s well countered by Plutchek’s refreshingly uncoached intensity.

I enjoy basking in the starry glow of George Clooney as much as the next man, but “Wolfy” is the kind of unnerving discovery that festivals are really about.

Василий Сигарев фильм Волчок пьесы Пластилин Черное Молоко@Mail.ru