Elena Demidova: Cranberry Island

Russian countryside village and a family. Mother and father and 4 children. We have seen it many times before, and we will see it again. With pleasure. You smile, you think ”how the hell can they survive under these poor circumstances”, some would say ”in this shit”, but you enjoy and you feel sometimes that this is too much. The latter comes especially in connection with the charismatic entrepreneur, the husband and father, who in the beginning of the film is constantly yelling at his wife, quite unsympathetic actually, but slowly the director (who is also the camerawoman, sound engineer and editor) builds him up as a character, who wants to create good life conditions for his family, and you get some empathy for him. His big project is to build and make work a windmill. But he is also a beekeeper, the family has a couple of pigs, and he has installed hot water and a wc in the house.

In the house where the lovely mother expresses herself to the husband: ”I don’t need your idealism. I see Life. We will lose everything with your idealism, our children before all.” Marina is good piano player and in the cosy sitting room, the children does their homework, one of them fighting with German words. A tough life, indeed, and they go to the city to try to find a job in the house of the Prince of Lichtenstein, as I got it!

For good and worse you can see that the film crew is one woman. Elena Demidova has spent a lot of time with her characters, they talk to her behind the camera, she has their confidence, and she has caught some of those beautiful magical moments that you can’t script – you just have to wait for them to happen. On the other hand the technical quality and the editing of the film suffers a bit when you have to do it all by yourself…. the windmill, the red thread in the storytelling, yes it works at the end of the film. And Marina sings like an angel!

The film won the environmental prize at the Message2Man Festival in St. Petersburg – see below.

Russia, 71 mins., 2010

Trailer: http://www.kinoglaz.fr/u_fiche_film.php?num=5719

Contacts: arazlogova@hotmail.com antel-dem@yandex.ru

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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