Films & Schedules

  • The Ghost

  • Karen Oganesyan

105 minutes

Production Company:
Magnum Studio
Ruben Dishdishyan, Anna Melikyan
Oleg Malovichko
Production Designer:
Ulyana Ryabova
Zaur Bolotaev
Karen Oganesyan
Stanislav Mikheev
Nino Katamadze, Gocha Kacheishvily, Ucha Gugunava, David Abuladze
Principal Cast: Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Mashkov, Chulpan Khamatova

International Sales Agent:
Central Partnership

Saturday September 0608:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0706:30PM AMC 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1310:00AM VARSITY 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Slick, tense and stylish, The Ghost has the feel of a fine European thriller. That it hails not from Paris but from Moscow might have been a surprise a decade ago, but not in this new era of resurgent popular cinema in Russia. While the country continues to produce sublime art house auteurs, a new generation of filmmakers has more in common with Scorsese than Tarkovsky.

Though The Ghost is just his second feature, Armenian-Russian director Karen Oganesyan shows the confidence of a veteran. He displays a remarkable control of mood and pacing while unfolding this story of a novelist who is drawn into the world of an assassin. Every element – the precise cutting, the cool autumn colour palette and especially the layered and nuanced performances – contributes to a gathering sense of danger. Oganesyan knows how to keep the viewer guessing.

Anton Prachenko (Konstantin Khabensky) finds himself struggling with writer's block. When he is prompted to hide a man named Mikhail (Vladimir Mashkov), whom he knows to be a killer, Anton begins to mine the criminal's misdeeds for inspiration. But Mikhail has a plan of his own: to frame Anton for one of his murders. Oganesyan exploits all the rich opportunities for suspense that arise from this cat-and-mouse plot, then he goes further. This is not simply a film about a writer entering the mind of a sociopath. Instead, it understands that both men carry the sociopath within. One lets it out on the page, the other in increasingly short, shocking encounters with his victims.

The Ghost offers all the pleasures of superbly crafted genre filmmaking, but with a substance that comes from careful research and insight into character. Credit goes to screenwriter Oleg Malovichko and to producer Anna Melikyan, who also directed the recent breakout hit The Mermaid. As Russia pushes further into the mainstream of world cinema, this film confirms Oganesyan's place among the nation's most promising young directors.

Cameron Bailey

Karen Oganesyan was born in Armenia and studied direction in Yerevan. He works as an editing director at Central Partnership. His feature films include Time Out (07) and The Ghost (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award