Stories from Non-Putin Russia
Mummies / Tiny Katerina / Who Mows at Night?
dir. Alexander Rastorguev, Russia, 2001, digital, Russian w/ English subtitles, 52 min.
A funny and tragic portrait of Russian history is reflected in a life story of Julia, the main character of the film, and her family as in a drop of water. The story of an adrift family, living in a barrack, between extreme poverty and alcoholism. In this difficult context, a child will be born...
Julia who is sixteen, lives in a barrack. Vanya - with his parents in five - storey building ... Julia is expecting Vanya's child but Vanya's parents are against misalliance and do not let the couple on the doorsteps of their house ... Vanya and Julia have no place of their own. Dysfunctional family relationship unfolds during the scandal when Vanya's mother accuses him of stealing and drinking. To prevent youngsters from moving in she raises the question if this is indeed her grandchild or somebody else's. Meanwhile Julia is taken to the hospital. Surviving a long and painful labor, she comes back to Vanya with the envelope decorated with laces and ribbons. Inside of the envelope - is the result of her victory, a tiny daughter, a new life that she brought into this unsettled and grim reality?
dir. Ivan Golovnev,Russia, 2004, digital, Russian w/ English subtitles, 25 min.
Before "Babies," Ivan Golovnev captured the life of a small Khanty girl, Katerina. She observes and understands a world outside her own while still a toddler between ages of 2 and 4. Gradually, Katerina begins to sense the unknown as it comes ever closer - not far from her nomad camp an oil rig appears.
Witty and charming, this little film will steal your heart.
Who Mows at Night?
dir. Gerasim Degal'tsev, Soviet Union, 1990,digital, Russian w/ English subtitles, 20 min.
Vasily has just turned 70. He lives alone on his little farm following the same routine day after day. Vasily is blind, and, for him, everything in the world seems the same - same landscape, same people, same cows and the same rain falling down everyday. The film presents an outstanding depiction of a simple but extraordinary man.
STORIES FROM NON-PUTIN RUSSIA
Next year will mark two and a half decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the start of a new identity for Russia. Leaving behind an era of oligarchs, the country emerged in the 21st century with its super-riches topping the charts of Forbes magazine while its political elite once again began flexing their muscles on the world stage. Remarkably the state of life for the people of Russian provinces is far away from the ambitions of the center.
This eclectic collection of stunning documentaries, rather than dwelling on political and economic issues, reflects on the psychological impact of the change on Russian people. The idea of the province, the local "neighborhood," is the focus. Carefully selected films show that although political tendencies of Russian society have often determined social changes, the province only observes and often pays for them.
Many works are produced by regional, non-central studios by filmmakers from the same social strata as their provincial subjects, betraying both a physical and an emotional distance from the "movers and shakers" of urban society. Interestingly, the series demonstrates above all that today's Russian documentarian inherits a deep sense of the culture and traditions rooted in classical literature, rather than values derived from contemporary cinema and television.