At the DoxPro workshop in November 09 in St. Petersburg I met many talented Russian documentary directors, who deserve more attention from Western European broadcasters and festivals. I took several dvd’s back home to watch and comment, and I still have a pile on my desk. I can not write about them all on this site but I would like to share my enthusiasm with you for the films of Alina Rudnitskaya, whose ”Civil Status” was reviewed last year in September in connection with the Baltic Sea Forum in Riga.
Today I saw three other short films directed by the director from St. Petersburg, all three proving her extraordinary sense for situations and for the so called magic moments that no director can mise-en-scène. You can see that Rudnitskaya has the confidence of her characters, who are offering her film emotionally vulnerable moments and she is able to deal with sadness in a way that you don’t feel embarrassed being that close. Humour is very much present in all three short documentaries.
In ”Communal Residence” about the kommunalka (shared appartment) a poor real estate agent meets people, who do not want to move out. In ”Besame Mucho” (Photo) women in a choir dream themselves away from their tough life in a poor, flooded village. By singing and having warmth and solidarity towards each other. Finally it is tragicomical to be with the young women at the ”Bitch Academy” where they learn how to find a man! The camera reports what happens in the room between the male teacher and the women, and between the women themselves. But suddenly the reporting stops and to the film is added layers of existentiial insecurity and despair. The three short films also demonstrate the emotional density in film language you can achieve with several characters in ONE place without playing according to the mantras of ”development of (few) strong characters” and ”strong story” that glues to the one-hour tv format.
Communal Residence, 2002, 13 mins – Besame Mucho, 2006, 26 mins. – Bitch Academy, 2008, 29 mins.