Caligari: 09.04. / 8.00 pm
The year is 1914, and while Gavrilo Princip sets out for Sarajevo in order to carry out the assassination which will secure his place in history, the brothers Andrej and Nikolaj are obsessed with a new game brought to Czarist Russia by the English: football – or harpastum, as it was known in the ancient world. Andrej is a student, Nikolaj works in a pharmacy. Their father lost his sanity over his gambling addiction a long time ago, and is now cared for by his brother. The two young brothers have no time for their family or girls, soccer is all they think of. Andrej is having an affair with an older Serbian woman called Anitsa, who hosts a literary salon. She’s not the only one who calls him an egomaniac: His team-mates say the same. The brothers are determined to build their own football pitch on a meadow on the outskirts of the city. But for the time being they make do with streets and fields. Regardless of the weather, they play together with the obese Fatso and the diminutive Shoust against other young enthusiastic locals – for money, and ultimately with success. But when they finally save enough cash for the pitch of their dreams, gangsters brutally destroy their plans. Years later, at the end of World War I, they meet up again on their meadow – naturally with a football. Director Guerman, whose film POESLEDNIJ POEZD / THE LAST TRAIN ran in competition at goEast 2004, again demonstrates his restrained aestheticism. His sepia-toned portrait shows boys enjoying a youth free of responsibility or political viewpoints, blissfully unaware that Russia is on the brink of the earth-shaking changes.