Read also Suspended in Time, an interview with Daria Khlestkina.
16-ya Respublika (Posledniy russkiy limusin) , Russia, 90 min, DVD, HD, Creative, Personal View, Social Issues
The ZIL truck factory, a giant in the heart of Moscow whose produce also included the showcase limousines for Soviet leaders, is now largely defunct. Suddenly, it gets a new order... Moscow giant truck plant ZIL was central for the lives of thousands of workers for more than 80 years, proudly calling itself a “talent foundry”, a “city within a city” and “the 16th republic” (the former Soviet Union consisting of 15 republics). Among other vehicles, it also produced the showcase limousines for Soviet leaders and the Red Square Parades. The plant is now unprofitable and largely defunct. Its continued existence depends above all on political factors, the protection of Moscow authorities, and the efforts of a handful of specialists and engineers who have dedicated most of their lives to the plant, which continues to be a great source of pride for them. For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the plant receives an order from the Ministry of Defense - three new ZIL limousines are supposed to open May’s Victory Day Parade on the Red Square. Only few specialist workers from the elite, previously top-secret department of Original and Special Automobiles, are left – rare professionals, all of them old enough to retire. But the deadline must be met. Set against this backdrop, the film is a multi-layered collective portrait of the ZIL community as they struggle to survive.