Thursday, May 17, 2012

Russian Libertine – Venäjän vapain mies

FI 2012. PC: Kinocompany Finland Oy. EX: Ari Matikainen. P: Liisa Juntunen.
    D: Ari Matikainen. SC: Ari Matikainen, Liisa Juntunen. DP: Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen – Canon 5D – released in D-Cinema. M: Janne Haavisto. S: Mikko Mäkelä, Tuomas Klaavo / Helsingin Elokuvaäänitys. Mixing: Pekka Karjalainen / Meguru Film Sound. ED: Harri Ylönen. Loc. Moscow.
    A documentary film featuring: Viktor Jerofejev / Viktor Erofeyev, Andrei Jerofejev / Andrei Erofeyev, Vladimir Sorokin.
    78 min. In Russian.
    The print viewed had Finnish credits, and subtitles in Finnish and Swedish. Liisa Viitanen (Finnish), Valeri Lieholm (English), Svetlana Melentijeva, Janne Kauppila.
    Released by Atlantic Film, 2K DCP viewed at Tennispalatsi 14, Helsinki, 17 May 2012 (week of premiere).

The official presentation: "Last winter Russians got tired with Putin's autocratic actions and went out into the streets to demand change. A hope for more righteous Russia has awakened, but the journey is a long one, and the weight of history exceptionally heavy. However, an idea for new Russia has been born, and continues to grow even at this very moment."

"One of the people fighting for change is a Russian author and dissident Victor Erofeyev. He loves his country and wants it to be more tolerant and open-minded. For decades now, he has been criticising the people in charge of Russia. He has also been in trouble with the state since the Soviet times, but does not let the fear hold him back. With his work he wants to encourage the Russians to take a critical look around and try to actively improve their own situation. Now this is finally happening."

"Russian Libertine brings the changes that shake the Russian society in front of our eyes and make them easier to understand. Victor's colourful story from a privileged child of a Soviet diplomat to a dissident who destroys his own family is full of surprises. It is a journey to today's Russia."

AA: Viktor Erofeyev admits that Putin has managed to establish a social contract with a freedom in the private sphere, but Erofeyev remains a passionate critic of Russia's backwardness, corruption and inability to change.

Erofeyev was born into a diplomat family and experienced France and Africa in his childhood and youth. The Soviet dream became a catastrophe, with lying, hypocrisy, cruelty and meanness rampant. The cult of Stalin was especially destructive.

During the Soviet Union there were two cultures, the Soviet culture and the anti-Soviet culture, and then came a third one, Sots Art and post-modernism, and their parody and irony finally melted Soviet culture.

"I killed my father", Viktor confesses: by launching the clandestine Metropol literary magazine he brought his father's illustrious diplomatic career into an abrupt finish. "My father lost everything".

But even worse was the conspiracy of silence, "friends" turning into informers. Erofeyev discusses the tradition of intimidation and violence in Russian culture. But father forgave and was Viktor's decisive supporter to the end of his days. Viktor is highly reserved about Russia's possibility to change, yet "something must be done".

A documentary movie with gravity, a filmed pamphlet about questions crucial for Russia. There is a threatening sound in the music track. There is a basic record digital video look in the imagery. 8 mm home movies are the source for the inserts in the flashbacks about Viktor's childhood in the 1950s. There is a general sense of a spirit that is broken but not destroyed, never giving up the fight.

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