Ego zvali Robert (1967)

aka My Name is Robert
Article 4835 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-28-2015
Directed by Ilya Olshvanger
Featuring Oleg Strezhenov, Marianna Vertinskaya, Aleksey Dranitsyn
Country: Soviet Union
What it is: Science fiction comedy

A scientist creates a robot in his own image in the hopes of sending him to Vega. Since he wants the robot to be an accurate reflection of a human being, he sends the robot out into society to become more like them. Complications ensue.

I’m rather reluctant to pass judgment on this one. To my mind, it has a strange, low-key vibe to it that seems just a bit off. However, this strange vibe may well be the result of the English subtitles not really being able to effectively translate jokes and humor from another culture; frequently, I found myself wondering if I wasn’t getting the jokes because they were untranslatable. Still, there are moments that come through in this exploration of the difference between robots and human beings; for example, I really liked the explanation given for the robot’s fascination with children’s toys. Certain moments stand out in the movie; there’s a memorable scene where the robot attends a theatrical production, as well as one where another man is mistaken for the robot. Some of the humor is of the obvious “robot taking things literally” type, but mostly it’s trying for something more subtle. Though I’m not sure I can say I entirely appreciate the movie, it does have enough points of interest to merit a viewing.

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