Khrzhanovsky and scriptwriter Yuri Arabov, spurred by an interview in which Brodsky said he would return to his homeland only anonymously, imagine his doing that and coming home to St. Petersburg in the 1950's and 1960's. The director mixes his specialty of animation filmmaking with live action and historical documentary footage to reinvent St. Petersburg, then known as Leningrad. The film takes its title from Brodsky's work of the same name, which refers to the "room and a half" where his family was assigned to live in Leningrad. The new film is Khrzhanovsky's second voyage to Brodsky territory. His 2003 film A Cat and a Half (winner of the Krakow film festival www.krakowfilmfestival.pl) was inspired by A Room and a Half.
The film, which was released in Russia August 15, 2008, had its international premiere at the Rotterdam festival. It went on to compete in the Istanbul festival and won the Grand Prix at Russia's Mirror film festival. Following Karlovy Vary, it will compete in Armenia's Golden Apricot film festival.
At a presentation of his works at Georgetown University, the filmmaker was praised for his "non-conformist experimental films" that "combine irony and pathos, animation and documentary footage... [and} developed a visual language of animation, treating handwriting as picture." Khrzhanovsky's previous works include his 1966 animation film debut short, There Lived Kozyavin, The Glass Harmonica, and the A.A. Milne inspired The King's Sandwich (1985).
Khrzhanovsky did triple-duty on Room and a Half, serving as co-scripterwriter and producer, as well as director. School-Studio Shar produced, under Artem Vassiliev.