“Contractor’s Routine” depicts one day in the life of Jacob Borschevsky, who although seemingly harmless, is a rather quirky human being. Lacking essential social skills, Borschevsky has cultivated a rich fantasy life complete with a mentoring alter ego, Esau, who is available at his beck and call. He labors to keep Jacob on a righteous path, but Jacob’s puzzling personality disorder seems too strong to be deterred.
The daily frustrations of the human condition are exaggerated in Jacob’s lonely inner world…and over time, they begin to overtake him. When he starts to act out his rage, it is left to the audience to decide - will Jacob’s mentor be powerful enough to stop his inner turbulence from spilling over into the real world?
Conflict is central to “Contractor’s Routine:” art versus science, addiction versus habit, fantasy versus reality and civility versus violence resonate throughout the film. The film’s director, Russian-born Yuri Tsapayev, delves masterfully into subconscious shadows and challenges society’s accepted truths.
“Contractor’s Routine” opens with cosmic, allegoric images of the universe - meteorites crashing in various places around San Francisco. The equally volatile Borschevsky is introduced. He is a 40-year-old contractor who tidies his tool shelves, builds beautiful wooden entities and entertains lurid dreams about killing people. These recurrent daydreams taunt Jacob mercilessly, as he desperately seeks to find equilibrium through Esau.
Preserved butterflies and wood become Jacob’s symbolic obsession: in his warped perspective, the beautiful and dead can endure forever. But, does anything last forever? Jacob says, “The universe demands balance. Destruction is part of the cycle.” He understands life is ephemeral, but the beauty of it can be preserved. It’s not until the film’s end that the magnitude of his destruction is revealed.