Thursday, March 17, 2016

Life in Russia in the 90s : D'Est

1993: Chantal Akerman is travelling through Eastern Europe to Russia.

Au bord de la fiction..

Just a series of slow images from across Russia; amazingly long tracking shots of people waiting in never-ending queues; static images of people in their pitiful apartments, clearly staged; empty winter landscapes..

There's no dialogue. We only hear heavy silences and people occasionally make comments or ask questions in Russian while the camera passes by. Сними меня... Зачем вы снимаете, это что интересно... По телевизору показывать будут.. Какая программа, через час что ли... Что снимаем... Бардак снимаете...  А чего снимать? Надо спрашивать... А мы ответим чего надо... Я участник войны, инвалид второй группы, целый час не могу уехать... Может улыбаться надо, нет... And we see people's faces. They speak louder than words.

The film is a comment on how lost Russia was at that moment in history after the fall of communism – a lifetime of one ideology was suddenly gone, and nothing new had yet taken its place. People's faces show it all: confusion, embarassement, shame, vulnerability..

Песня Окуджавы в исполнении Жанны Бичевской запала в душу.

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