Film Archive

Jahr

International Programme 2014
The Term Pavel Kostomarov, Aleksandr Rastorguev, Aleksej Pivovarov

An insider’s look at the leaders of the anti-Putin opposition. From the far left to the far right, intellectuals, celebrities and politicians. A record of churning chaos – up close and breathless.

The Term

Documentary Film
Estonia,
Russia
2014
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pavel Kostomarov, Aleksandr Rastorguev, Aleksej Pivovarov
Pavel Kostomarov, Aleksandr Rastorguev, Aleksej Pivovarov
This is THE film about the opposition against Putin’s Russia. One of its directors, Pavel Kostomarov, was searched during production, many of the protagonists were taken in investigative custody, and some were condemned. The dozens of cameras that contributed to the online clip project initiated in mid-May 2012 on which this film is based are in place when almost all the leaders of the protests against the government are arrested. Only Mr. Belov, the White one, gets away with inciting the Nazi mob to chant “Long live Anders Breivik”. There is Kseniya Sobchak, a politician’s daughter, former godchild of Putin, talk show host and much more, who despite her glamour is a capable representative of the moderate liberal intelligentsia. There is Aleksej Naval’nyj, who has collected countless supporters despite his massive tendency towards the extreme right. There is Sergej Udal’cov, the left wing extremist front man. Or Petr Verzilov, the husband of Pussy Riot’s Nadya and now Madonna’s and Yoko Ono’s “best friend”.
They all accepted a “term” with their appearance. But there is also a “term” that began when Putin became president again – the vital one, as it turns out, with regard to the rise and decline of civic resistance against the autocracy. While the Tsar, to the applause of “maîtres” like Depardieu, sings about his “thrill on Blueberry Hill” …
Barbara Wurm
International Programme 2014
Varya Aliona Polunina

A Moscow woman with health sandals and Aldi shopping bags explores the Ukraine war: on the Maidan, in Odessa and among the right-wing sector. The naive heroine comes very close to the truth.

Varya

Documentary Film
Russia
2014
46 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nastya Velskaya
Aliona Polunina
Dmitry Rakov
Aliona Polunina
Aliona Polunina
Interims, uncertainties, illustrated by the great search engine powers: for Yandex, the Crimea is Russian territory, for Google it is Ukrainian. And the realm of Facebook is only a keystroke away, not to be underestimated as a platform for ideological positioning. When Aliona Polunina tries to shoot a film about the Russian-Ukrainian war she meets Varya, a simple Moscow mathematics teacher with frizzy grey hair, naive eyes, health sandals, plastic bags and a notebook. Varya is strange, but a heroine: she canvasses her Facebook contacts in the country that became the declared enemy of her government overnight. Varya goes Ukraine to explore a whole spectrum of political and national euphoria there (be it militant or pacifist, idiosyncratic or collective), which she emphatically tries to understand and communicate to her Russian fellow campaigners in defiance of the delusions propagated by the mass media.
It’s that simple step of turning addresses in a virtual social network into real contacts that enables Polunina and us, via the documentary camera, to regain access to a public that is threatening to sink under the military and media war – by regulated exclusion or an overkill of unregulated self delusion. Varya fights against both wars. Courageous.
Barbara Wurm

Victory Day

Documentary Film
Russia
2013
29 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sergey Vinokurov, Alina Rudnitskaya
Alina Rudnitskaya
Fedor Bakulin
Alina Rudnitskaya
Sergey Vinokurov
Alexsey Antonov
“Only in Russia is it possible for the president to declare the year in which he files for divorce the ‘Year of the Family’.” While the sea of flags of the victory parade in the streets of St. Petersburg below illustrates how much Russian nationalist, communist and orthodox positions have merged in this country of ideological extremes, lesbian and gay couples stay at home on their sofas. Behind closed windows and out of reach of the new public who are to be kept pure of all “perverts”. They talk about how they met and how their parents and environment deal with their coming out. A talk show is being broadcast on television, an upright citizen thinks that the anti homosexual law passed in June 2013 is too harmless: “This type should be forbidden to donate blood or sperm and if they have a car crash their hearts should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuited for the prolongation of any kind of life.” The applause lasts several minutes.
The nice thing about this film is the normality of these loves and lovers, the obviousness of their views and attitudes. And yet – certainly at the end, in the brilliant final montage – a layer of desperation has settled on their intelligent faces. After the Jews and queers, one of them says, all that’s missing is a law against witches. Welcome to the Middle Ages, welcome to Russia today.
Barbara Wurm
International Programme 2012
Winter, Go Away! Elena Khoreva, Denis Klebleev, Dmitry Kubasov, Askold Kurov, Nadezhda Leonteva, Anna Moiseenko, Madina Mustafina, Sofia Rodkevich, Anton Seregin, Alexey Zhiryakov

Snapshots of the anti-Putin protest movement: from Pussy Riot across the street to the election office. Courageous, ingenious, occasionally funny and radical.

Winter, Go Away!

Documentary Film
Russia
2012
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marina Razbezhkina, Risk Film Studio
Elena Khoreva, Denis Klebleev, Dmitry Kubasov, Askold Kurov, Nadezhda Leonteva, Anna Moiseenko, Madina Mustafina, Sofia Rodkevich, Anton Seregin, Alexey Zhiryakov
Thaw, frost or the banishment of winter: there always seems to have been a correspondence between the important turning points of Soviet (now Russian) political history and a variety of extreme climatic conditions. Today it’s Vladimir Putin who personifies winter, the cold and dark weather in his great realm. But it was in winter (last year) that the first heavy protests against the sovereign started. How to cope with the anger and outrage at a corrupt system displaying more and more marks of a dictatorship? How to get rid of one’s fury at, even hatred of the man who has firmly drawn the (obviously arbitrary) line between detention and freedom somewhere between Khodorkovsky and Pussy Riot? The people portrayed in this film are courageous and refreshing, just like the young filmmakers themselves, a ten-person collective headed by Marina Razbezkina, who on behalf of the “Novaya Gazeta” follow the various opposition movements’ attempts to politicise society and create a civic public. It’s a difficult, often violent and sometimes even funny undertaking. Whether we see them as observers in an election office (whose chairman steals away through the backdoor to escape charges of fraud) or as protesters in the midst of a host of militia truncheons, there can be no more question of a “United Russia”. An instructive film and a radical diagnosis of its (our) age.
– Barbara Wurm