Up to 1940-s the island Mantsinsari belonged to Finland, in 1944 it joined Karelia. At that time all the Finns and Karelians went to Finland. And the island was settled by special people who didn‘t fulfil their work quota, frankly speaking – the enemies of the system – the Russians, the Belarusians, the Ukrainians, the Tatars, the Estonians, and simply employers on a contract. About 1500 people came; later on many of the island new involuntary settlers would never forgive this place for their broken destinies, after all. And when Khruschev became the leader – former enemies with their families were impetuously leaving their prison on the water. The people rushed home to their native land, just like flocks of birds after long and tiring wintering in a strange land. They left their lived-in places, their ecologically clean property and historical sightseeing – Finnish military objects of the beginning of the century. In time some died, some left. Only two have stayed – a Finn and a Belarusian – two Robinsons of Mantsinsari.
A journey into a lively, yet desolate building in a provincial Georgian town. It once used to be a hotel called ‘Bakhmaro’. At the center of the building there is a restaurant with its walls covered in bright green and orange plastic foam and where the tables are set waiting for customers who rarely come. A Chinese shop, slot machines and a political party office can also be found here. The building is a microcosm sodden with the constant anticipation of change. It is a model of one troubled country with its endless demonstrations and opposition rallies. At the same time the backdrop of political situation only mirrors the life people live here.
Dancing with Time
Ballet dancers normally end their careers in their mid-thirties. But four former professionals, two women and two men, nearing their eighties have taken up the challenge to return to the stage and dance again. "Dancing with Time" shows the extraordinary result, filmed in the opera house in Leipzig, where they once were leading members of the ensemble. They tell the stories of their lives in dance and the film extends this beyond the stage to portray Ursula, Christa, Siegfried and Horst as vivid personalities who have lived through the greatest upheavals and social changes of the last century in Germany. Nothing about them is old, except their age.
Children. As Time Flies
What became of bus driver Jeanette's dream? How are her children Tommy and Paul? Is life under control now? What does Jeanette's little brother Tino mean by "mixing everything"? The snowman has no mouth. Life as it flows. Agitating.
Revue is based on archive propaganda newsreels produced in the USSR in the 50's and 60's. The film shows the almost forgotten side of the Soviet times and the way of thinking at that period. It explores the life of people all across the vast expanse of the Soviet Motherland, full of hardship, deprivation and absurd rituals, and at the same time illuminated by the glorious shining of the communist illusion.
Wolli in Paradise
The place: the outskirts of Hamburg, a flat, 2 rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom. The time: one day and the passing night. Wolfgang "Wolli" Köhler, former porn-cinema and brothel founder turned poet and illustrator, lives here with his wife, Linda. Scenes of cohabitation. Scenes of a life together. Reminiscences of an existence that has led them from Waldheim in Saxony to St. Pauli in Hamburg. Insights into the abject wretchedness of the sex industry. The underworld of covert backyard meetings before the coming of AIDS. Prejudices are undermined, preconceptions challenged. Wolli takes a trip down his own personal "memory lane."
What is home? And what is more important - life or home? Director Vitalij Manskij searches for an answer to this question among his former class-mates with whom he was admitted to the pioneer organisation 'Vladimir Ilyitsh Lenin' as group 'Yuri Gagarin' in 1973, pledging allegiance to what was then their home - the USSR.
Close to Heaven
Dumitru Stanciu is one of the last mountain shepherds of Europe. As his forefathers did for thousands of years, in summer as in winter he and his herd of sheep roam the far reaches of the Transylvanian Carpathian Mountains, close to the edge of heaven. He lives amidst the myths of his mountains, between bears and wolves, in the sun, wind, snow and ice — and in constant concern for his animals... Soon, when he hangs his sheepskin coat on the wall for the last time, an irretrievable piece of Old Europe shall die. Or will his son Radu take over the herd?
Winter. Bus stop in a small village. People are waiting for a bus. They talk. Listening to their conversations the viewer can imagine the world they live in. United by the movement of the camera, the whole place and the people blend together.
Vivan Las Antipodas!
What would be the shortest route between Entre Rios in Argentina and the Chinese metropolis Shanghai? Simply a straight line through the center of the earth, since the two places are antipodes: they are located diametrically opposite to each other on the earth's surface. During his visits to four such antipodal pairs, the award-winning documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky captured images that turn our view of the world upside down. A beautiful, peaceful sunset in Entre Rios is contrasted with the bustling streets in rainy Shanghai. People who live in a wasteland are connected to people dwelling next to a volcano. Landscapes whose splendor touches the soul are juxtaposed with the clamor of a vast city. These antipodes seem mythically connected, somehow united by their oppositeness. Kossakovsky's movie is a feast for the senses, a fascinating kaleidoscope of our planet. VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS! - Long Live The Antipodes! What is happening on the point of the earth diametrically opposite to where we are now, what awaits us there? Fascinated by this question, Victor Kossakovsky conducted an experiment, and in the course of his unique project visited four coupled antipodes - in Argentina and China, Spain and New Zealand, Chile and Russia, Botswana and Hawaii. Thanks to a keen sense of the magic of his eight locations, Kossakovsky captures unforgettable images. He follows the menacing glow of a volcano's lava, contemplates the majestic flight of a condor, documents human attempts to rescue a stranded whale. A sunset in Argentina's Entre Rios is juxtaposed with rush hour in Shanghai. Tranquil silence and amber light contrast with noisy industriousness and metallic hues. The movie approaches its subject playfully, and Kossakovsky's deployment of the camera is innovative: the earth's surface bends right in front of our eyes, images upside down.