Film Archive

Convictions

Documentary Film
Poland,
Russia
2016
63 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Vlad Ketkovich, Mariya Chuprinskaya, Maciek Hamela, Tatyana Chistova
Tatyana Chistova
Omari Zverkov
Mariya Falileyeva , Omari Zverkov, Miroslav Mishinov, Aleksey Strelov, Dmitriy Medvedev
Tatyana Chistova
Marina Sheinman
These are the stories and trials of four young men who decided that to them “pacifism” is not a swearword. But this conviction means they are swimming against the tide of a thoroughly re-militarised society which has been forging men of steel for years now. Conscientious objection is listed in section 328 of Russian criminal law.

Shy Roman is well-briefed and tries his luck with great idols like Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein, which only earns him a reputation as a “pseudo-Dostoyevsky”, though. With Viktor, the draft board wonder whether he’s under their jurisdiction at all (“Boy or girl?”) and then vote – much to the annoyance of some bigwigs – for alternative service. This is where the story takes an incredibly funny turn, because he is assigned to the woman veterans’ dance company “Sudarushka”. However, Lyosha, a solitaire and determined opponent of the Ukraine war, and Johnny, professional protester with a remarkable rhetorical talent, are denied this kind of kitsch ending.

And yet we may raise our hopes along with them and this film – despite the basic bitterness provoked by all this: because anyone who imagined that political repression makes us braindead and mute is taught better by Chistova’s unsubdued look behind the scenes of collective opinion and mood making.

Barbara Wurm



MDR Film Prize 2016

Next Masters Wettbewerb
Strange Particles Denis Klebleev

Quantum physics mean everything to Konstantin, but, alas, his students are more interested in girls. The loving portrait of a man who doesn’t fit into this world.

Strange Particles

Documentary Film
Russia
2015
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Denis Klebleev
Denis Klebleev
Denis Klebleev
Denis Klebleev
Denis Klebleev

Konstantin, an introverted young scientist, is tasked with familiarising the adolescents in a summer camp with physics. Denis Klebleev puts Konstantin at the centre of his observations and image compositions. There is almost no shot in this film that doesn’t live and breathe through the strong presence of this charismatic and weird oddball. The camera lingers on him, apparently uninterested in the environment in which the hero of the films seems to be drifting aimlessly back and forth. Konstantin’s thoughts perpetually revolve around quantum theory. He is obsessed with the idea of being able to explain the world by it somehow. All the more frustrating for him when he gradually finds out that the adolescents in the camp refuse to share his passion. Isolation drives him into a corner. The narrative space gets smaller, too, and Konstantin’s thoughtful and nervous face begins to dominate the screen. “Strange Particles” is a portrait that also stands for the suffering of everybody who believes: strongly, sometimes in something unexplainable that can’t be proved. An existential question. Zaza Rusadze





Honorary Mention in the Next Masters Competition 2015


Next Masters Wettbewerb
The Wolf and the Seven Kids Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov

Father and son live in a house on the edge of the forest. An unusually close look at their daily life which nonetheless – or perhaps because of this – does not yield a general view.

The Wolf and the Seven Kids

Documentary Film
Russia
2017
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Anna Voskoboynikova
It’s as if a curtain was pushed aside. But there is no long shot of the stage or any interaction discernible from the distance. In Elena Gutkina’s and Genrikh Ignatov’s film we’re very close to everything. Very. As if a camera had focused on the interior of a doll’s house, standing fixedly still on thresholds and waiting, or lurking in front of a bed. The frame is just big enough to show the lower body and thighs. This is what we get for a while: a young man pulling up his underpants and pulling them down again, making sounds, perhaps singing.

Gutkina and Ignatov take their time. And so do the two men in whose world they are staying, albeit not moving. A father and his adult son, living in a shabby house on the edge of a forest. It’s hard to know what’s going on here. But something is going on, all the time, this much we know: fingers move, hands grasp. The unusual framing makes the content look abstract, even though everyday life is observed here. Gutkina and Ignatov offer no answers to the question of what to make of it.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for MDR Film Prize