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  goEast 2004

Russia / Switzerland 2004
Director: Antoine Cattin, Pavel Kostomarov, 45 MIN

This documentary starts with a peaceful image: cows are moving around in a barn. But the image is deceiving. Even though Apti, a Chechen, and his father Sultan have managed to escape the war the Russians are fighting against their people, they are now without means or rights, forced to hide in a small Russian village and to depend on people to give them work – and pay them. This, of course, is not always the case. The camera, whose presence is as astonishing as it is unobtrusive, watches the pair as they live under the most miserable conditions, suffer hunger, slave away in the barn, curse, and numb their pain with vodka. Sometimes they get something to eat, sometimes they get into fights – especially since Apti does not hide his origins and one of his peers, an aggressive young Russian, tells him that he will join the war in Chechnya. The uncommented takes, made under sparse lighting-conditions and without elaborate equipment, speak of the desolate despair of a people not merely made up of soldiers and freedom-fighters, but also of farmers and day labourers, who have next to nothing and want only one thing: to live in peace. In the end, the father cannot stand his hiding-place anymore and returns to Chechnya. Apti stays, now completely desperate. In the meantime, the young Russian has been fighting in Chechnya – against Apti’s and Sultan’s people. The film thus turns into a document of the ongoing strife in today’s Russia.

Caligari: 11.04. / 3.30 p.m.

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