• film

Stories from Non-Putin Russia

Vacation in November / Yaptik - Hasse

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Thursday 8/20
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Vacation in November
dir. Pavel Medvedev, Russia, 2002, digital, Russian w/ English subtitles, 30 min.

The documentaries of Pavel Medvedev are haunting portraits of some of post - Soviet Russia's most isolated people and places. This film follows Russian miners in the tundra. On a forced furlough from their regular jobs, they embark on an annual massive reindeer slaughter to supplement their income.

followed by

Yaptik - Hasse

dir. Edgar Bartenev, Russia, 2006, digital, color, Russian w/ English subtitles, 32 min.

The film tells the story of Yaptiks, the nomad Nenet's family that resides on Yamal Peninsula. Their main occupation is reindeer breeding. Even 4 - years old boy never misses to catch the deer. The most simple and ordinary events are driven by the ancient philosophy that is passed from one generation to another through the centuries. "Yaptik - hasse" is believed to be a spirit of Yaptik family thus he goes around on the sacred sledge that is pulled by a reindeer or dogs. Road is his home. As long as he keeps his wonders there will always be a deer, a dog and the fellow Nenets. Edgar Bartenev equally uses three different means to tell the story of the breathtaking everyday life of these Siberian nomads: original music, creative inter-titles, and last but not least a magnificent camera work. Yaptik – Hasse is a rare and unique little film, not to be missed.


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.