MDR Film Prize< >
for an excellent Eastern European documentary film
Vitaly Mansky (Russia, Czech Republic, Germany) for the film
Die Trasse (Pipeline)
“Pipeline“ is a film which, once again, demonstrates impressively what luminosity and fascination a documentary film can radiate, as soon as a subject is directly and precisely presented in such monumental pictures and then artistically compressed.
Vitaly Mansky proves himself as a virtuous discoverer, observer and documentary filmmaker of Eastern European lifestyles. „Pipeline“ is a road movie, a commitment to reality. A journey of exploration along the thousands of kilometer long pipeline route, from the gas fields in the north of Russia to the end consumers in Germany. With stopovers in seven countries. An expedition through the here and now of the 21st century.
Mansky looks and explores patiently, precisely and with curiosity. He takes the people in front of the camera seriously. Their lives and their daily existence. This being a traditional strength of the East European film.
The ability to artistically condense things is another strong point of the film, forcing the speed, accelerating the montage. Nobody will be able to simply forget the funeral sequences in the Czech crematorium, the „collapsing“ of the pictures. How the dignified and warm-hearted funeral ceremonial suddenly turns out to be a cold, routine-like, “factory-made” procedure, when being forced by the montage.
And suddenly, this brings back memories of the funeral in the Arctic permafrost soil, as could be seen at the beginning of the journey along the pipeline, the endless and laborious efforts of picking the ice. The rough customs and the steaming faces of the men then appear in a completely new light. It is such disturbances and references, on which the film also lives.
Mansky does not pretend he would be explaining the world. He merely shows what it is like, how he conceives and sees it. Naked, unvarnished and sometimes a bit provocative.
„Pipeline“ tells, and reveals, so much about the existence of the people in the East in the 21st century, but nonetheless about the people in the West.