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Cold Souls

Overview

Writer/director Sophie Barthes crafts this metaphysical tragicomedy, which straddles the line between reality and fantasy, set in a world where souls are extracted from humans and traded as commodites. Paul Giamatti is an anxious New Yorker who finds the answer to his deep-rooted malaise after stumbling upon an article about a high-tech company that claims to have found a solution to human suffering. By deep-freezing souls, claims the company, they can give their customers a life free from fear, doubt, and worry....
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Overview

Writer/director Sophie Barthes crafts this metaphysical tragicomedy, which straddles the line between reality and fantasy, set in a world where souls are extracted from humans and traded as commodites. Paul Giamatti is an anxious New Yorker who finds the answer to his deep-rooted malaise after stumbling upon an article about a high-tech company that claims to have found a solution to human suffering. By deep-freezing souls, claims the company, they can give their customers a life free from fear, doubt, and worry. Eager to free himself from the emotional burden of angst, Giamatti eagerly enlists their services. Trouble arises, however, when Giamatti's soul is swiped by a soul-trafficking "mule" who in turn gives it to a no-talent Russian soap opera actress. Now, in order to get back the soul that is rightfully his, Giamatti must make the arduous trip to St. Petersburg, along the way discovering that the true key to happiness isn't the absence of pain, but the ability to experience the entire spectrum of emotion and cherish the things that really matter.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Soul extractor featurette; Deleted scenes
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Cold Souls moves through the same absurdist universe as Being John Malkovich, and at times is almost as satisfying as that seminal Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman collaboration. Instead of being the person in question, the goal for Paul Giamatti, playing himself, is to not be himself, operating under the theory that he'll be a better Uncle Vanya on Broadway if he can extract his emotionally burdensome soul -- which, in physical terms, looks something like a garbanzo bean. This is quite the delicious, whimsical setup, but Cold Souls ends up being very dry in its humor, likely preventing it from reaching the same kind of audience that Malkovich reached. The title says it all -- this film is cold indeed, not only from a physical standpoint, set partly in wintry Russia, but from an emotional standpoint, as it's suffused by a metaphysical bleakness befitting a Russian playwright Uncle Vanya was written by Anton Chekhov. This coldness doesn't preclude it from having its laugh-out-loud moments. Writer-director Sophie Barthes has fashioned a wildly original story here, one that earns comparisons to Malkovich primarily because both films display an incomparable blend of nonfiction, fiction, and out-and-out existential fantasy. In Giamatti, she's found the perfect collaborator to translate the script's neuroses and gallows humor, not to mention act out the behavioral differences between a soulful and a soulless version of the protagonist, with all the hilarious physicality that this implies. The script asks interesting questions about the world of soul extraction and implantation, mining humor from the way different souls look, how to transport them without accidentally absorbing and/or destroying them, etc. It's an especially confident debut from its writer-director, who previously directed a short in which a woman purchases a box of happiness. One only wonders what other metaphysical treats Barthes has in store for us.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/2/2010
  • UPC: 024543629382
  • Original Release: 2008
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20Th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:41:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Paul Giamatti Paul Giamatti
David Strathairn Dr. Flintstein
Emily Watson Claire
Dina Korzun Nina
Katheryn Winnick Sveta
Lauren Ambrose Stephanie
Sergei Kolesnikov Dimitri
Armand Schultz Astrov
Michael Tucker Theatre Director
Ted Koch INS Officer
Oksana Lada Sasha
Natalia Zvereva Blonde Mule
Larisa Bell Russian Singer
Anna Dukova Olga
Charles Techman Soul Storage Doorman
Laura Heisler Female Client in Promo
Brienin Bryant Young Woman in Soul Storage
Charlotte Mickie Mrs. Rathbone
Rebecca Brooksher Yelena
Henry Stram Telegin
Herb Foster Serebriakov
Boris Kievsky Oleg
Alex Adamov Photographer
Lisa Emery Cynthia
Mimi Lieber Friend at Restaurant
Yevgeniy Dekhtyar Hotel Receptionist
Boris Leskin Donor
Gregory Korostishevsky Igor
Michael Aronov Mafioso
Sasha Luzanov Video Store Salesman
Yuliya Yakovleva Beautician
Tatyana Eyorova Factory Supervisor
Svetlana Kireeva Landlord
David Spearman Young Soldier
Michael Stuhlbarg Hedge Fund Consultant
Tom Stearns Man Extracting Neurons (Soul Sequences Cast)
Seth Austin Androgynous Person (Soul Sequences Cast)
Max McGuire Androgynous Person (Soul Sequences Cast)
Edward Thomas Androgynous Person (Soul Sequences Cast)
Joseph Scott Old Man (Soul Sequences Cast)
Stella Stark Paul's Mother (Soul Sequences Cast)
David Maynes Young Paul (Soul Sequences Cast)
Dominique de Bourgknecht Pregnant Mother (Soul Sequences Cast)
Adrian Lallemand Baby Paul
Technical Credits
Sophie Barthes Director, Screenwriter
Michael Ahern Art Director
Erin Benach Costumes/Costume Designer
Dan Carey Producer
Mariela Comitini Asst. Director
Elizabeth Giamatti Producer
Dickon Hinchliffe Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
John Hynansky Executive Producer
Judy Karp Sound Mixer
Alexandre Mallet-Guy Co-producer
D.J. Martin Executive Producer
Tracy McKnight Musical Direction/Supervision
Paul S. Mezey Producer
Elizabeth Mickle Production Designer
Andrew Mondshein Editor
Andrij Parekh Cinematographer, Producer
Dave Paterson Sound/Sound Designer
James Shifren Executive Producer
Daniel Swee Casting
Maksim Volodin Production Manager
Jeremy Kipp Walker Producer
Vera Zelinskaya Art Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Cold Souls
1. Main Titles / New Life [3:26]
2. Subterfuge [1:35]
3. Unburdening Made Easy [4:03]
4. Soul Storage [5:21]
5. Extraction [4:09]
6. Size Doesn't Matter [3:11]
7. Soulless [2:51]
8. The Recruiter [3:16]
9. Blunt Advice [4:22]
10. Lackluster Rehearsal [2:49]
11. Rent-a-Soul [4:06]
12. Brilliant Performance [7:00]
13. Soul Request [7:18]
14. Confession [:37]
15. Great Results [4:32]
16. Borrowed Soul [1:41]
17. Big Problem [4:58]
18. It's Not About You [8:24]
19. Soul Donor [4:58]
20. Look Inside [4:41]
21. Paula's Soul [2:50]
22. Back Home [4:18]
23. Acquisition [1:58]
24. End Titles [3:54]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Cold Souls
   Play
   Language Selection
      Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
      Audio: Spanish Dolby Surround
      Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Soul Extractor
      Deleted Scenes
         Play All
         Paul Rehearses "Uncle Vanya"
         Paul Eats Celery
         Paul Becomes an Art Collector
         Claire Is Puzzled by Paul's Taste
         Sveta Looks at Her Soul
         Sveta Investigates Paul
         Paul in the Soul Stimulator
      Trailers
         Play All
         (500) Days of Summer
         Gentlemen Broncos
         My One and Only
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