In the midst of the collapsing USSR, the favourite stand-up comedian of the regime begins starts to crack under the weight of official constraints and self-loathing. Boris Arkadiev didn’t set out to be a comedian, but his novel flopped and he found a lucrative career doing stand-up throughout the USSR. Though popular with the public and the authorities, he’s going through a crisis that is only exacerbated when he hears about the freedom that comics enjoy in the US. Tormented by the powerful oppression of officials, his own insecurities and the disdain of his teenage son, Boris teeters on the edge of going too far, a slip that could have grave consequences. With exemplary cinematography and crackling writing, The Humorist is an entertaining and original feature with a troubling contemporary resonance.