This is how the film was described at its international premiere in Locarno a couple of months ago: “Ten director graduates from Marina Razbezhkina’s School of Documentary Film and Documentary Theatre lived with a camera for two months in order to chronicle the last “Russian winter” and its popular uprising against Vladimir Putin’s presidential run. People, faces, conversations, protests, failures and triumphs come together to chronicle the campaign.”
And as such one can only state that the students have graduated with bravour. What they give the viewer is a tense insight to all the activities run by the opposition against the fraud comedy around the re-election of Putin in March this year. Most of it happens in the streets, the demonstrations, the slogans, the confrontations with the police, the brutality – but when inside you also, as an example, experience a mother asking her son, who is about to make stilts for a street happening: Would you like to have a cup of tea before saving Russia?! Yes, there is a lot of fun in the film, there has to be as everyone knows that the result of the election was decided in beforehand, there is a lot of freshness, you get the Leacock “feeling of being there”, you get an interview with members of Pussy Riot and footage from the performance in the cathedral, and on the election day you witness what is quite evident a manipulation of votes. Only a few times I felt that I should know more to understand what I see, mostly with who-is-who matters, otherwise I left the film breathless because of tension that had been documented and informed from an anti-Putin point of view – with some fine scenes where Putin supporters discuss with the opposition activists.
Russia, 2012, 90 mins. / Directors: Aleksey Zhiryakov, Denis Klebleev, Dmitriy Kubasov, Askold Kurov, Nadezhda Leontieva, Anna Moiseenko, Madina Mustafina, Zosya Rodkevich, Anton Seregin, Elena Khoreva
Seen at Message to Man Festival, St. Petersburg 2012