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Show of the Week: An Ordinary Woman

An Ordinary Woman is a “grounded” series from Russia with a “breathtaking” performance from Series Mania award-winner Anna Mikhalkova, according to Cineflix Rights’ senior VP of global scripted co-productions Julien Leroux.

It follows Marina (Mikhalkova), a seemingly ordinary woman and florist who owns a brothel business as a side gig. Marina’s balance between her day-to-day and darker activities become blurred when one employee is murdered by a client.

“What makes it most compelling is how grounded it is,” says Leroux. “It’s a show with characters that have lots of flaws and the series is not attempting to judge or to save them.”

Morality has no place in the 8×60-minute series, as Marina attempts to hide the death of employee rather than investigate who may have perpetrated the act in the first place.

“She reminds me of Kirsten Dunst’s character in Fargo [season two]. She looks like she might be stupid, but she’s not. She puts herself in crazy situations, but somehow, she always manages to get herself out in unexpected ways. You’re constantly thinking, ‘is she really doing that?,” adds Leroux.

An Ordinary Woman, produced by 1-2-3 production and Look Film for Russia’s TV3, grabbed Leroux’s attention at Series Mania this year which he says is “unusual”. Most projects the distributor picks up are considered at a very early stage, sometimes even before script stage.

Cineflix brought the title to the international market at MIPCOM this October to positive response. Territories that are currently interested in it include Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, the US, UK and some parts of Asia. “We’re closing some of them at the moment,” Leroux says.

As one of the two major Russian titles presented at MIPCOM, joined by Beta Film’s Trigger which also debuted to an international audience at the market, Leroux says it could prelude to a boom in drama from the region.

“But, it really depends on the Russian talent,” he explains. “TV3 has a slate that is impressive in terms of production value. The challenge now is to find the shows that are tonally right in terms of characters, because Russia has been producing a lot of series over the years that tended to be violent or extreme.”

Leroux continues: “It’s about finding new storytellers that will make a difference, and for Ordinary Woman Boris [Khlebnikov, director] brought humanity to the series.”