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Zaplyv Film / 2015

HD, VHS, 78 min, 16:9, color, sound

"For the humble soul of the Russian common people, worn out by grief and toil, and still more by the everlasting injustice and everlasting sin, his own and the world’s, it was the greatest need and comfort to find someone or something holy to fall down before and worship."


- Fyodor Dostoevsky 

Swimmers / Zaplyv is a sketch of an extraordinary attempt, at the border of science, cosmology, and psychedelic trance theatre, to achieve and maintain collective belief in post-communist Russia.

Who is happy in Russia? The search for meaning, happiness, and footing in a community can take on an odd shape, such as when a group of adults walk single file into the sea and then hop through the water making strange movements or indulges in nocturnal psychedelic theatrical performances. The swimming and dancing rituals are led by Boris Zolotov, a once famous Soviet physicist who abandoned academic life to spread his cosmic wisdom. Without wanting to interpret or debunk anything, in Swimmers / Zaplyv (G/RUS/HU 2015) Kristina Paustian juxtaposes documentary observations of daily life in the guru’s commune in southern Russia with archive footage of his appearances in crowded auditoriums or on TV. She also introduces a young woman as a protagonist who discusses the notion of happiness in today’s Russia with Zolotov.

(text Birgit Kohler, arsenal berlin)


Director, Cinematography and Editing

Kristina Paustian


Kristina Paustian

Executive Producer

György Gattyàn


Dramaturgical Advisors

Normen Perke, Clarissa Thieme

Production Advisor

Elisabetta Pilia

Director of Photography of Archive Footage

Jurij Svetlakov, Aleksandr Udalov, Fedor Ivachov, Mikhail Murizin


Artem Bezukladnikov 

Color Grading

Ioannis Kaltirimtzis

Sound Design

Christian Obermaier

Sound Mix

Jochen Jezussek


Annie Goh



University of the Arts Berlin 

In Collaboration with

Kristina Paustian and György Gattyàn


Poster by

Nika Korniyenko



2015 Visions du Réel International Film Festival

2015 Message to Man International Film Festival

2015 Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival

          East Silver Market

2015 Duisburger Filmwoche

          ***ARTE Documentary Award***

2015 Torino Film Festival - TFFDOC/INTERNAZIONALE.DOC

2015 ArtDocFest Moscow, Russia

2016 dokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg


2016 Arsenal Berlin

2016 Nova Cinema Echos of Jihlava, Brussels

2016 Screencity Paris

2018 Arsenal Berlin

2019 Feldfünf, Berlin

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