• First Film Competition  
  • French Competition


Nathalie Nambot

The eminent Russian writer Ossip Mandestam, who died when deported to Siberia
in 1938, wrote in 1922: “My century, my beast, who will dare looking deep into your
pupils?” Nathalie Nambot used this question as a starting point. You don’t notice it
at once, but it gets confirmed gradually, as slowly as a survivor’s breath: her film is
a long dedication to rebellious lucidity. Yesterday’s lucidity (yesterday?), from the
Stalin era to today’s Russia (today?).
Her project is all about recording immobilism and countering it with the rhythm of
uprisings, thus mixing temporalities: the merciless continuity of horror with the
sharpness of verses and screams. Obviously, it is ambitious. But also modest,
because in order to stir up the past without succumbing to emotionalism, you need
some incarnated complicities. Mandelstam. His wife Nadejda, who rescued his texts
from oblivion by learning them by heart. A friend, Anna Akhmatova. They are all
witnesses, in the present tense: they are living testimonies waiting to be heard,
repeated and interpreted, as they wander through the city and landscape. They all
say that what we get to see isn’t the exclusive property of winners. They are also
very much in the now: they bring up the carnage at the Dubrovka theatre in October
2002, and the public words of Stanislav Markelov, a lawyer murdered in the street
in January 2009.
“Written kisses never reach their destination / ghosts drink them on the way,” is the
quotation that comes as an epigraph. The film is convinced of their possible
exorcism. (NF & JPR)

  • First Film Competition  
  • French Competition

Technical sheet

16 mm

Version originale
Russe et français
Nicolas Rey
Igor Tarasov
Gilda Fine

Tina Oumanskaia, Lena Kobzar,
Youri Kantomirov,
et la voix de Natalia Gorbanevskaia

Chaya films